There’s a lot to be determined for the Las Vegas Raiders when it comes to their defense in 2021. While we don’t know who will be coaching the unit, we do know they need help. Perhaps, the two players chosen in this two-round mock scenario may be of help.
The Raiders’ defense needs help on several fronts as they had one of the worst seasons as a unit in franchise history. Paul Guenther was finally relieved of his defensive coordinator duties, which drew a collective sigh of relief. However, it wasn’t nearly enough to salvage a season marred by disappointment.
There’s much work to be done no matter who ends up coaching the defense and getting some young talent will be a start. The Silver and Black could go safety, interior defensive line, and even linebacker. Nevertheless, Las Vegas has to find a way to both get to opposing signal-callers and defend those passes.
Let’s take a look at one scenario that Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden could go.
Which route do the Raiders take in this scenario?
First Round, Azeez Ojulari, EDGE, Georgia
Mayock and Gruden could actually go with Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the first round. However, the Silver and Black need help in rushing the passer, and Azeez Ojulari could provide a boost there immediately. The six-foot-three, 240-pound defensive end put up notable numbers at Georgia, especially in his junior year in 2020. He had six and a half sacks, two forced fumbles, and nine and a half tackles for a loss.
Pro Football Focus is very high on his pass rush skills, they graded him 87.7 in that department. Jordan Reid of The Draft Network summed up Ojulari as a versatile defensive end that can operate from anywhere in the defensive line. His overall speed, versatility, and hands are his biggest attributes, all of which the Raiders can use.
Second Round, Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
The Raiders have an up and coming cornerback group already. Trayvon Mullen who leads the way and has shown flashes of brilliance. This year’s first-round choice in Damon Arnette had an up and down season when he was on the field. There’s a chance that a lot of the deficiencies in defending the pass fall on the now-fired Guenther. Paulson Adebo could be that missing cog that the Raiders need in their defensive backfield.
The six-foot-one corner had noteworthy production at Stanford even though he didn’t play this past season. From 2018 through 2019, Adebo amassed eight interceptions, five tackles for a loss, and 27 passes defensed. The Draft Network’s Drae Harris noted Adebo is a solid tackler in both pass coverage and in defending the run despite his size. Adebo’s length, excellent instincts, and natural talent in the nickel could help the Raiders, especially if Amik Robertson turns out to not be a fit.
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*Top Photo: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports