With the impending news on Wednesday afternoon that the Oakland Raiders are negotiating with Khalil Mack over a new contract, question marks still surround the 2016 NFL defensive player of the year’s supporting cast.
Adding to this news, Bruce Irvin set tongues wagging on the same afternoon, asking fans for DL Mo Wilkerson’s Instagram handle hinting he is likely to return in 2018.
Y’all send me MO Wilk ig handle
— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) February 28, 2018
The likelihood of the Raiders adding an edge rusher opposite Mack in free agency is pretty slim, so I decided I would write a few names who could fill the void from the upcoming NFL Draft.
Taking into consideration that adding an EDGE is all good, but the Raiders really need to add strength and depth on the DL to really create gaps for the pass rushing playmakers of the team.
So who makes my three-man list?
Well to start off with, it’s arguably the best in this year’s class, likely to be off the board by the time the Raiders pick but what if the unimaginable happened and he fell to the Raiders? I get excited just thinking about it.
Bradley Chubb – EDGE – NC State
This 6’4″ 275lb pass rusher packs a punch on his tape and I can only imagine what it’s like to play against him.
Football clearly runs through Chubb’s family, Bradley’s father Aaron is a former Georgia linebacker and his brother Brandon was also a linebacker at Wake Forest.
Adding to this is his cousin Nick who played RB for Georgia in their recent loss to Alabama in the 2018 CFP national championship, and like Bradley is part of this year’s NFL draft.
Now to Bradley: arguably one of the best prospects in his position in recent years, he shows excellent athleticism, speed off the mark for a man his size, uses his vision for spaces and penetrates the gaps with authority.
Very positive in his play and never gives up until the play is done, very strong with thick legs and a broad chest, actively strives in one-on-one contests.
- Games – 40
- Tackles – 198 (100 Solo)
- Sacks – 25
- FF- 6
- FR – 1
Marcus Davenport – EDGE – UTSA
Next on my list of prospects is someone the Raiders have been linked with recently and would make sense for a variety of reasons.
The likelihood of Chubb being on the board when the Raiders pick is very slim, and Davenport has that undeniable upside to exceed his potential as he continues to grow into an NFL starter.
Davenport, who stands at 6’6″ and weighs in at 255 pounds, is a former three sport athlete who used to partake in basketball and sprinting (track and field), as well as football; he clearly has a sporting background.
He is tall, long-limbed, and excites many with his tough tackling, shows excellent lateral movement to adjust to plays and often wraps players up with his tackles using his long arms to full extension.
There is obvious room to improve in the pass rush but his athletic ability mixed with height and potential could sway the Raiders in his direction.
- Games – 43
- Tackles – 185 (95 Solo)
- Sacks – 21.5
- FF – 6
- FR – 2
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – EDGE – Oklahoma
My final player on this list is one of my personal favorites, pronounced o-BO-ny-uh o-kor-RON-kwo. He was the son of Nigerian immigrants born in Houston, Texas.
Adept at playing defensive edge and outside linebacker, Okoronkwo’s versatility could be a huge coup for the Raiders and new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in particular.
A little on the smaller side for a defensive edge, standing at 6’1″ 242lbs, Ogbo as I like to call him, uses raw power on the field when it’s time to get to work, often attacking the pocket, flashing his natural instincts to rush the QB.
Ogbo has good speed and acceleration off the mark but could do with work on his technique and improvement in coverage; he can often look lost due to lack of experience in coverage situations.
- Games – 35
- Tackles – 162 (105 Solo)
- Sacks – 20
- FF – 5
- FR – 2
Overall, there is plenty of options in this year’s NFL draft, these don’t scratch the surface in terms of talent this year.
But in my opinion, if I was picking one out of these in terms of value I would go with Okoronkwo as he is unlikely to go in the first two rounds, however, in terms of talent, Chubb is an obvious winner.