The Las Vegas Raiders will have to do something about their lack of effective pass rush in the offseason. If they take the draft route, Appalachian State’s Demetrius Taylor could help.
The Silver and Black had an abysmal 2020 NFL season, that much we already know. However, their defense was a sight to behold and not in a good way. Under the now-fired Paul Guenther, the Raiders were picked apart via the air by opposing quarterbacks.
Even more putrid was their inability to generate sacks this past season. Clelin Ferrell improved in terms of generating pressure and Maxx Crosby did his best but it wasn’t enough. It also didn’t help their free-agent acquisitions along the defensive line contributed next to nothing. It’s time the team moves on from Arden Key and looks to bring in some youth, enter Taylor.
What can Taylor do for the Raiders?
As a four-year player at Appalachian State, Taylor dominated in his junior and senior seasons. In that two-year span, Taylor accumulated 40 solo tackles, 13 sacks, 26 tackles for a loss, and five forced fumbles. Taylor’s knack for always being around the ball is evident, looking to make a play and cause a turnover. His eight fumble recoveries and lone fumble recovery in that stretch further back up that claim.
On tape, you can see Taylor has a nice burst off the line and shoots through the gaps with ferocity. Of course, we must take into consideration he’s facing offensive lines from the Sun Belt Conference.
Pro Football Focus broke down Taylor’s collegiate career and he certainly has improved consistently. This is especially the last three years, with overall grades of 72.7, 78.9, and 85.9, respectively. In addition, Taylor’s 90.2 pass-rushing grade is in the upper echelon of 2021 EDGE prospects. It’s about perspective when looking at weaker conferences but speed, burst, and football instincts can’t always be coached. The Raiders defense needs to create more turnovers and a player like Taylor could provide an assist in that department.
Ferrell and Crosby aren’t going anywhere but the team’s lacking quality depth behind them. Taylor’s speed is certainly noteworthy, and while he’s relatively short at six-foot-one we know that doesn’t make a pass rusher. If Taylor’s there in the mid to late rounds, the Raiders should consider him.
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*Top Photo: App State Athletics