The Las Vegas Raiders finished the 2020 season with a mediocre 8-8 record and now have a new defensive coordinator. They decide to address their defense with their first two draft picks in this mock scenario.
Embattled defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was fired after an embarrassing loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts. Now, the team looks to Gus Bradley to soothe their defensive woes in 2021.
Back at the helm, Guenther led a defense that was one of the most incompetent, inept, and lackadaisical in the NFL. The unit surrendered an average of 30 points per game, 389 yards of total offense, and only 21 sacks. The Raiders currently have zero playmakers and difference-makers defensively. The defense needs a complete overhaul and will be rebuilt at every level from the ground up.
So who do the Raiders turn to in April’s NFL Draft?
Football games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage. If you can win, control and or dominate the line of scrimmage, you’re more apt to win the game. That goes that applies for Pee Wee football, college and NFL football. If the Raiders want to win, they’ll rebuild their defensive line and they can star in April.
1st Round, Joseph Ossai, DE, Texas
Joseph Ossai is the most explosive, athletic, and violent edge rusher in the draft. Standing at six-foot-four and weighing 260 pounds, you can’t keep your eyes off him, he jumps off the screen into your lap. He’s always playing at full speed with a non-stop motor while it looks like other players are standing still.
The Nigeria native uses his speed and power to attack the quarterback while setting the edge as a run defender. He’s very raw in terms of pass rush moves but because of his explosiveness that can turn to power, he’s unblockable one-on-one.
Ossai opted out at Texas after the regular season this past year but in nine games as a junior, he compiled 55 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, five and a half sacks, and three forced fumbles. You’ll begin to hear Ossai’s name more and more as the offseason continues.
2nd Round, Jay Tufele, DL, USC
We talked earlier about Joseph Ossai’s explosive athleticism, well let’s talk about that in a six-foot-three frame and weighing about 315 pounds. His name is Jay Tufele, and he’s exactly who the Raiders have been looking for to anchor the middle of their defensive line for the last 20 years.
Forget about blocking Tufele one-on-one, he commands double teams or he will kill your signal-caller and destroy your ball carrier. Tufele’s explosive speed and power are always on display, and just like Ossai, has a motor that just won’t quit. The USC product is a violent defender who uses his strength, power, and hands to anchor and control a guard or throw him to the side.
Just think, Tufele at defensive tackle playing the 3-technique and Ossai rushing off the edge. The former opted out this past year, which would’ve been his junior year to enter the NFL draft. The only concern about Tufele is that he’s still available when the Raiders pick in the second round at number 48. If so, this is how you rebuild a defense. And if not, the Raiders better think about moving up to get him.
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*Top Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports