You might’ve heard this before, but just to make sure, here’s a remainder. The Las Vegas Raiders aren’t a good team, especially on defense. Heading into the offseason, it’s clear they’re in need of an infusion of talent. Miami defensive end Jalen Phillips has declared for the draft, so he’s someone the Silver and Black should target in 2021’s draft.
Jaelen Phillips possesses the pass rush prowess the Raiders need
Phillips will declare for the 2021 Player Selection Meeting, according to 247Sports. The 6-foot-5 standout is one of the highest-ranked defensive prospects heading into the draft, after registering 45 solo tackles, 24 assists, eight sacks, and one interception in 2020.
The Miami defensive end was 247Sports’s number one recruit in 2017 due to his physical prowess. However, a concussion, a wrist injury, and an ankle injury limited him to 28 total tackles, 13 assists, and 4.5 sacks in his two-year tenure with the UCLA Bruins.
Phillips considered retirement before he changed his mind and transferred to Miami. Looking back, that’s the best decision he could’ve made. He’s currently ranked 12th in Mel Kiper’s big board and should get his name called early in next year’s draft.
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This Las Vegas team needs all the help they can get
Before the season started, there was hope the Raiders would overcome their defensive woes. After all, there were signs of progress last year. The unit ranked 24th in points allowed and logged 32 sacks in 2019, so it wasn’t far-fetched to think they could be even better this year after aggressively allocating resources to that side of the ball.
Nevertheless, the Raiders’ defense has regressed in 2020. The unit ranks 29th in points allowed and has logged a paltry 16 sacks, nearly half of their 2019 totals. Things have gotten so bad, they recently gave defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Rod Marinelli is now overseeing the defense on an interim basis and could keep the job next year, but regardless of whom the next defensive coordinator is, the team needs an infusion of talent on that side of the ball. Jaelan Phillips is the kind of difference-maker that could help turn things around.
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Top Photo: Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald