The Oakland Raiders have had a quite busy offseason with a flurry of moves, but what about the defensive end position? Has it been upgraded adequately?
With the exception of bringing in defensive ends Josh Mauro and Alex Barrett, there haven’t been a whole lot of upgrades. Well, the answer to this concern will more than likely be answered by head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock in a few short weeks at the NFL draft.
At this point, everyone knows about the stacked class of edge rushers in this year’s draft, headlined by Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Brian Burns, Clenin Ferrell, and Rashan Gary.
What everyone also seems to know is that most, if not all, of these young men will all go in the first round and the Raiders may very well take one of them with the fourth overall pick. Perhaps, they’ll take two of them in the first?
Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
Ok, so I sort of cheated as this guy probably sneaks into the first round along with the aforementioned group, but Ferguson didn’t play in the SEC or the Big 10 like some of those other guys previously mentioned. His NFL Combine invitation got rescinded due to an altercation he had 4 years ago. He has been clean since and set a new Division 1A (FBS for all you youngsters) record with 45 sacks. He would be a steal in the second round for the Raiders.
Charles Omenihu, Texas
Omenihu had a great week at the Senior Bowl. At 6’5” and 280 pounds, he is sort of a “tweener” between an end and a defensive tackle. He has violent hands when coming off the ball and has to work to get a pass rush, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue. Omenihu had 9.5 Sacks and 18 tackles for loss in 2018. He reminds me of ex-Longhorn and former Raider Lamarr Houston.
Anthony Nelson, Iowa
Nelson is a guy that doesn’t have the burst that you would normally associate with first round talent, but he has the size and weight (6’7” 271 pounds) of a potential starter. He isn’t as flexible or as fast off the snap as a Sweat or Burns, but he can still bring it. He had 9.5 Sacks last year. His 20 yard shuttle at the 2019 Scouting Combine, was just as fast as Josh Allen’s.
L.J. Collier, TCU
Like Omenihu, Collier also stood out during Senior Bowl week. He has very similar traits like Omenihu. Stat-wise, he had six sacks this past season. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah thinks Collier may end up a Raider due to his excellent week in Mobile, Alabama.
Zach Allen, Boston College
The OTHER Allen isn’t half bad. He struggled all week during the Senior Bowl, particularly during 1 on 1 pass rush drills and to make matters worse, he ran a poor 5.0 forty yard dash at the combine. On the flip side, he was very consistent at BC and had 6.5 Sacks to go along with 15 TFL last year.
Lastly, one guy I didn’t include on this list was Jachai Polite from University of Florida. He had a poor combine (considering he is supposed to be an explosive pass rusher) and then had a stranger set of interviews. Not a good combination. Ramble On, Raider Nation!