The Las Vegas Raiders defense has been abysmal for over a decade, but it isn’t because of a lack of trying, numerous draft pick misses and free agent busts have set them back year after year. Misses on Lamarcus Joyner, Gareon Conley, Jihad Ward, and beyond has put this team in desperate position to hit, and do it now.
Here are five more can’t-miss free agent targets that I believe can take them to the next level. Time to get defensive:
Harris is the top safety in this free agent class and quite frankly, he could be one of the best ones in the league. Minnesota is in a really tough cap position and it doesn’t seem plausible for them to re-sign the veteran, who is 29 years old and coming off his best season as he posted a 90.5 rating on PFF last year. He recorded six interceptions in 2019, a feat that hasn’t been achieved by a Raiders defensive player since the late Thomas Howard in 2007. The Raiders lack playmakers and Harris should be one of their top targets on the defensive side of the ball.
Silver and Black fans everywhere are head over heels for Corey Littleton and Joe Schoebert, and they should be as the Raiders linebacker corps has been atrocious for a decade. However, every move can’t be a splash signing, and you sometimes have to get creative. Kwiatkoski stepped in for the Bears after injuries this season and performed admirably, posting a 72.6 PFF rating. The knock on the linebacker is his athleticism. Nonetheless, he always seems to be in the right spot on tape. Las Vegas needs to bolster their front-seven, and inking a deal with Kwiatkoski is a great way to do so.
Gritty signings are sometimes the ones that put a team over the top and there will be a plethora of cornerbacks available in free agency. A defensive back like Poole should still make a decent amount of money, but the price tag won’t be quite as hefty. He posted a 80.0 rating in coverage in 2019, and he fits a huge need for the Raiders in the slot. This would kill two birds with one stone, allowing Lamarcus Joyner to go back to his natural position.
Rod Marinelli is the newest addition to the Raiders coaching staff, and the defensive line coach could play a role in bringing the defensive end in. The Raiders have a young pass rush rotation, but can still use some help in the area. Adding a veteran would be ideal, and Quinn can still get it done. He recorded 58 pressures last season, and in the right role could really have a positive impact for the Raiders.
Golden was a guy that I wanted badly last go around. He had an subpar year in 2018 coming off of a torn ACL, so the Giants got him at a bargain. Last season, he returned to form and posted a 10-sack season. Golden would be an upgrade over Arden Key, and Dion Jordan in the situational pass-rush role, and would allow defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to kick Ferrell inside more when needed.
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