The 2020 NFL free agent class is something to behold because it carries a ton of proven veteran talent, which is something the Las Vegas Raiders are in desperate need of.
Here are four players that must be on the Raiders’ radar these next few months.
MLB Joe Schobert, 26
Over the course of his young career, Schobert has really grown into one of the better linebackers in the league. Pro Football Focus has him ranked as the 41st best free agent in this class, and he would be a very good addition to the Raiders defense.
Schobert was drafted in the fourth round out of Wisconsin, and ever since then, he’s grown his game tremendously. His primary strength has always been his tackling, but he’s recently evolved into a great pass defender as well.
The linebacker finished 2019 with four interceptions, by far the most in his career. He also saw a spike in passes defensed, nine. As I mentioned earlier, he’s always been a good pass-rusher and tackler, and in his four year tenure with the Falcons, he’s compiled 408 tackles, 19 quarterback hits, and 15 tackles for a loss.
Free agent LB Joe Schobert would be a nice add for the #Raiders in free agency. He’s really solid in coverage, which is a foreign trait for the silver and black. He finished 2019 with 89 solo tackles, 7 TFLs, 9 pass breakups and 4 INTs. #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/iYsJ4v3acq
— Kris Wysong (@KrisWysong) February 3, 2020
Shobert would be the first complete linebacker to put on a Silver and Black uniform in a while. He’s a player that would tremendously improve the Raiders defense.
CB Byron Jones, 27
Jones was drafted with a first round pick in 2015, and he’s certainly lived up to that standard. Even though he is the best cornerback in the free agent class, it seems like the Cowboys won’t be bringing him back.
Jones is versatile, and skilled wherever he lines up. Last year, he played both corner and safety for Dallas and excelled at both. The defensive back didn’t have an interception last year and only had six passes defensed. I’d argue that was due to quarterbacks avoiding him since he had a remarkable 15 pass breakups in 2018.
Byron Jones got some air and the swat 😤 @Byron31Jump pic.twitter.com/KBUH8Z2Xc7
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 28, 2019
Pro Football Focus rated him the fourth best cornerback in football last year, and there’s speculation he might get the largest contract for a defensive back, ever. He’ll cost a lot, but if the Raiders have a chance, Jones would be an excellent add.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, 32
Sanders is getting up there in age, and there’s a good chance the Raiders draft a wide receiver with one of their first round picks. While he’s not being hyped up as much as Amari Cooper, AJ Green, or Robby Anderson, he’s one of the most appealing options in free agency.
Sanders has been a steady force throughout his career, and 2019 was no different. On 66 receptions, he racked up 869 yards, five touchdowns and had a 68% catch percentage. He’s getting a little old, but the speed is definitely still there, and that’s something the Raiders receiving corps are desperately lacking.
#SFvsSEA: Emanuel Sanders spins and scores on the beautiful reverse play for a touchdown 🙈.
— Mike Dixon (@MikeDixon_VST) December 30, 2019
Spotrac predicts Sanders will bring in $10 million per year in free agency, and the Raiders receiving room has some talented names in it, but Sanders would add a new dimension to the Raiders offense.
DT Jordan Phillips, 27
Phillips is a big man. He would also make a big difference for the Raiders’ defense. With that said, the 300 lb. defensive tackle is a very solid player and would be an under-the-radar signing.
Phillips took a massive jump in his development last year, when he increased his career high in sacks from two to a whopping 9.5 last, and his 16 quarterback hits were also a huge leap. He more than quadrupled his career-high in sacks, so it’s unlikely he’ll perform at that rate again. With that said, he’s still a big gap-filler, and his short area quickness makes it possible for him to attack gaps away from where he lined up pre-snap.
— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) October 6, 2019
Phillips likely won’t put up similar sack totals, but his combination of size and speed could make him a valuable asset to the Raiders’ defense.
These four players all play in a position the Raiders need some help in. While it’s near impossible the raiders could grab all these players, each one would make a big impact, and add some talent to a team that could really use it.
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