Oakland Raiders fans should be buzzing at the moment. Even though Khalil Mack hasn’t yet signed a new long-term deal, there’s plenty to be optimistic about.
The offseason acquisitions have settled in nicely, earning rave reviews, especially one of my personal favorites, Arden Key, the recruit from LSU in this year’s 2018 NFL Draft.
Key dropped to the third round this year and is arguably a Top 10 talent based on his numbers and ability, but everyone else’s loss is the Raiders’ massive gain.
Other notable mentions are the likes of Tank Carradine, Bruce Irvin, and Mario Edwards Jr., who is also noted as one of the defensive ends and likely to see plenty of snaps to prove his worth this upcoming season. Over the last few seasons, the weight has been primarily on Mack to produce sacks and game-changing plays to turn games on their heads; in my opinion, this will no longer be the case due to a couple of factors stated below.
1. Bruce Irvin under previous coordinators and coaches was asked to perform various tasks including dropping into coverage, this will no longer be the case as stated by senior members of the Raiders staff.
Irvin will be tasked with getting after the opposing quarterback and also shutting down the run, which will be music to big Bruce’s ears.
2. As previously stated, the KEY acquisition (see what I did there?) of Arden Key will be a major focal point of the rotation in this position. In year one, the expectation is limiting Key’s job roles to help him develop into a pro bowl caliber player.
Key and Irvin’s disruptive play styles should help create even more opportunities for one of the best defensive players in the NFL (Khalil Mack).
Also, Mario Edwards Jr. moving along the defensive line could play another pivotal role in creating gaps and uncertainty in opposing play-callers’ minds.
So as I said, it’s not great that our star defensive player isn’t tied down, but expect the deal to get done or for Mack to play under the franchise tag in the future as there is no way the Raiders will let him walk.
Let’s get behind the team, create optimism, and create the buzz and atmosphere other franchises can only dream of. One love, Raider Nation.