After posting substandard pass-rushing numbers in 2020, the Las Vegas Raiders need to add a veteran EDGE defender. Romeo Okwara could be the one.
The Silver and Black had a hard time bringing down opposing quarterbacks in 2020. Their sack totals weren’t good across the board, though Clelin Ferrell made some good strides generating pressure. Moving forward, more is to be expected from Raiders defenders in 2021. This is especially true now that Las Vegas has a new defensive shot-caller in Gus Bradley.
Bradley will surely have some say in defensive acquisitions, whether it’s via free agency or the draft. If the team opts to look for help for their pass rush in the form of a free agent, Okwara would have upside.
What would Okwara bring to the Raiders?
The 25-year-old defensive end still has a lot of upside after stints with the New York Giants and Detroit Lions. Pro Football Focus predicts that Okwara could sign for three years with $10 million guaranteed. Depending on how much the Raiders can clear in their cap and how much they value sacks, this could be a tad much. Also, there’s a possibility that Bradley might want to roll with Vic Beasley and Takkarist McKinley in 2021 as Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton pointed out.
I expected Gus Bradley.
— Maurice Moton (@MoeMoton) January 12, 2021
When you combine the veterans with the Raiders’ youth, Okwara’s price tag could be too much. However, he really came on strong late last year with the Lions, per PFF.
“After over 1,000 snaps of below-average production as a pass-rusher, Okwara finished like a ball of fire with the No. 3 pass-rush grade among edge defenders since Week 12.”
Okwara finished his 2020 campaign with ten sacks, 11 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles, and a pass defensed. Heading into the off-season, potential suitors will want to find out whether Okwara’s production was a flash in the pan. We’ll have to wait and see how the Raiders will now approach the defensive line in both free agency and the draft with Bradley on board.
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*Top Photo: Paul Sancya/Associated Press