What About The Las Vegas Raiders Defense?
Secondary: The Las Vegas Raiders were a bottom third pass defense once again, in 2019. I don’t expect a major leap forward in 2020, solely because of the lack of practice reps for the young guys. But the infusion of a healthy Abram, Trayvon Mullen in Year 2, Amik Robertson, and Damon Arnette into the secondary should help mightily.
The Raiders also added to the secondary via free agency with the additions of Jeff Heath, Damarious Randall, and Prince Amukamara. They have more depth than they have had in years but will need to find the right mix of youth and experience to start the season.
I believe by seasons end your starters will be Arnette, Robertson, Mullen, Abram, and Randall, an exciting young secondary that fans should be excited about, but be patient.
Predictions: Team interceptions up from 9 in 2019 to 15 in 2020
Linebacker: The Raiders failed to address their woes at the position for plenty of years. Passing on phenom after phenom really caught up with them last season. A blessing to all of us, they moved on from Tahir Whitehead, and then, get to torch him in Week 1.
Mayock and Gruden have linebackers! Adding Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski gave them a formidable duo to start right away. Littleton is a top 10 linebacker in this league and Kwiatkoski can wear the green dot. Besides that, the Raiders have more depth at the position than they’ve had in years. In addition, the team also acquire Raekwon McMillan earlier today, giving them three quality starting linebackers. Morrow, Muse, and the stand-out rookie Javin White round out a much-improved position group.
Related: Raiders Linebackers Unit Quickly Taking Shape
A New Man in Charge…
Defensive Line: Maliek Collins was my favorite addition to this roster, however, Rod Marinelli is the biggest addition to this defensive line. With Arden Key, Maliek Collins, Maurice Hurst, Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell, and Carl Nassib all being young players, adding an all-time great in Marinelli might be what this team needed to take the next step at this position group.
The Raiders still are 1-2 pieces away on the d-line from being dominant, but compared to years past, being league average isn’t too bad. Ferrell has bulked up, Key is having a great camp and Collins looks to be a stud upfront. Add all that in with Crosby entering year two and Hurst improving steadily, the Raiders have the potential to compete on the defensive line.
The versatility that these guys offer shouldn’t go unnoticed either, they can give offensive lines many different looks with a mixture of defensive formations and move guys to different positions around the front four.
Predictions: Maxx Crosby- 12 sacks, Clelin Ferrel- 6 Sacks, Maliek Collins- 4 sacks
Record Prediction: 10-6 (Wild Card Berth)
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Top Photo: Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal