A team’s pass rush can always be improved and the Las Vegas Raiders are no exception. Despite being overshadowed by big names at the NFL Scouting Combine this past weekend, these EDGE prospects are intriguing.
The Raiders defensive line is full of talent thanks to Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell, and Maurice Hurst. Even more exciting should be the addition of new coach Rod Marinelli, who will handle defensive line duties and oversee these players. It could serve the Raiders well to reinforce the edge; Arden Key’s still under contract but his performance has been underwhelming.
Not saying the team will move on from Key, but perhaps there could be some upgrades available in the draft if the organization refrains frim spending money in free agency on the EDGE position.
Bradlee Anae, 6’3″, Utah
Anae, the Hawaiian native, had a good showing at the Combine. Though Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports stated Anae “tested like a much larger defensive lineman” but won with “tremendous hand usage and power.”
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) February 27, 2020
Those criticisms aside, Anae could prove to be a potential steal for the Raiders, a second or third round target. Many fairly point out that linebacker’s the most dire positional need. Nevertheless, improving the pass rush facilitates what the rest of the defense does. Anae has a nice burst and has some of the best hands in this year’s class. Oh and he’s got a motor to boot. If he’s there in the third, how can general manager Mike Mayock pass up on him? Just take a look at what Anae did against USC this past season:
Chauncey Rivers, 6’2″, Mississippi State
Rivers, who hails from Stone Mountain, GA who Jake “The Snake” Roberts once made famous, could prove to be a steal despite running an unimpressive 4.90 in his 40. The rest of his Combine was somewhat of a mixed bag with a broad jump under nine feet and posting 7.33 seconds in his Three-Cone Drill. The issue with some of these numbers is that sometimes they don’t do the player any justice, Rivers for example, is 6’2″ and weighed in at 262 pounds, so he obviously has the frame.
Lance Zierlein did point out via NFL.com that an AFC scout said the biggest issue with Rivers might be his lack of maturity.
“Maturity has been a problem for him in the past. Just doing what he’s supposed to do will be key if he makes it in the league. He has enough talent to get drafted.” — Area scout for AFC team
No prospect is perfect and Rivers is no exception. With that being said, what he brings in raw power, athleticism, and quickness, which should warrant at least a look. The biggest takeaway with these two prospects is the possibility of backing up current Raiders players while honing their craft under Marinelli’s tutelage. Quality depth with starter potential, that’s the name of the game.
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