What would a comprehensive list of the greatest Las Vegas Raiders defensive ends of all time look like? That list would be very long. There have been so many greats in the past and a few shinning parts in the present.
Raiders: Once A Raider Always a Raider
To determine what quantifies Raiders as greats, let us first break it down into two categories: The first one focuses on those who spent their entire careers with the Silver and Black. Then, there are the ones who only played out a contract before moving on. This article will feature the latter.
1. Khalil Mack 2014-2017
Here’s the fifth pick of the 2014 draft, a 3x Pro Bowler, 2x 1st team All-Pro, and 2016 Defensive Player of the Year. You have to put the proper respect on that man’s name when you talk about him. In his time with the Raiders, Mack amassed 40.5 sacks, 68 tackles for loss, 84 quarterback hits, nine forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, one interception, and two touchdowns in 64 games. Mack was the golden child for the Raiders, watching him leave almost hurt more than the tuck rule. Mack tied Hall of Famer and team legend Howie Long’s five sacks in one game record, in only his second year.
In 2016, Mack earned a Defensive Player of the Year Award, a perfect cherry on top of one of the best defensive seasons the organization has ever had. Also, he is the only player in NFL history to be named an All-Pro at two positions in the same season.
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2. Derrick Burgess 2005-2008
Al Davis signed Burgess in 2005. Immediately, he came on the scene and electrified Raider Nation. In his first year with the Raiders, he led the league in sacks with 16. He would add three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 13 tackles for loss. All of this earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl.
In 56 games with the Raiders, Burgess sacked the quarterback 38.5 times, hit the quarterback 38 times, stopped 39 ball carriers for a loss and he forced five fumbles while recovering three.
Burgess was unable to replicate his NFL sack leading performance during the rest of his tenure in Oakland. Rest assured, he was a constant pass-rush force during the lost years. His closing speed off the edge proved to be incredibly disruptive until he left.
3. Bruce Irvin 2016-2018
Irvin was the type of player coming out of West Virginia that many football purists would have loved to see the Raiders draft. As it stands, Irvin came to the Raiders fresh off a Super Bowl win. Like him or not, he produced in a major way.
In 40 games with the Raiders Irvin piled up 18.5 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, 26 tackles for loss, and 42 quarterback hits. Irvin had the pleasure of being paired up with a Hall of Famer in the making in Mack.
In his best season with the Raiders, Irvin had six forced fumbles, seven sacks, nine tackles for loss and 25 quarterback hits. Irvin and Mack were part of a magical run that would see the Raiders playoff-bound for the first time since the Super Bowl loss in 2002.
Hate him or love him, you can’t deny his production nor the impact of his peanut punch. Irvin produced in big games and one of my favorite games is the one where he beat up Travis Kelce for the entire game.
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