What would it be if the Raiders weren’t looking for more defensive help in the offseason? Gus Bradley’s arrival in Sin City has Raider Nation looking for any sort of improvement on defense. The architect of the famed “Legion of Boom” knows he has his work cut off with this Raiders defense.
In his stint with the Seattle Seahawks, Bradley developed players such as Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner, and Richard Sherman. Fortunately, this upcoming draft could give the Silver and Black a push in the right direction.
These three prospects would quickly improve the Raiders defense
Round 1, Pick 17 – Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Nicholas Morrow will likely hit the open market, and the need for a difference-maker in the middle is ever-present. Also, a beast at linebacker is a necessity in Gus Bradley’s defense. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has the ability to be that player. At 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, his size, athleticism, and explosiveness allows him to be a three-down linebacker.
He stuffs the run and has the ability to cover against multiple types of offenses. Furthermore, he has the ability to get after the quarterback. During the 2019 campaign, he recorded eight and a half sacks. Although Bradley’s defense does not require linebackers to blitz too much, they are required to be a “dude” on the field, i.e. Bobby Wagner. Owusu-Koramoah’s ability to get from sideline-to-sideline, cover tight ends, and overall athleticism would make an immediate difference for the Silver and Black.
Round 2, Pick 49 – Hamsah Nasirildeen, DB, Florida State
Finding someone to play next to safety Johnathan Abram will be a priority for the Raiders this offseason. Hamsah Nasirildeen can be that guy. At a lengthy 6-foot-4, Nasirildeen has the versatility and size to do it all in the back end. His 220-pound frame allows him to get downhill against the run, and hold his own against tight ends and receivers.
His speed and length let him play deep in the cover 3 scheme Gus Bradley runs. A problem with Nasirildeen is his injury history. In 2020, he suited up in just two games, as he tore his ACL in a non-contact situation. A positive outlook though, is his production in those two games was outstanding. 13 total tackles, one and a half tackles for loss, and an interception is a good indicator of what he can do in a full season.
Round 3, Pick 80 – Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa
A four-man rush is the main way a Gus Bradley defense gets to the quarterback. Blitzes are not a huge part of his scheme, so an interior push is a necessity. The Raiders have not had the necessary inside push to cause havoc in the backfield. In two seasons at Iowa, Daviyon Nixon recorded eight and a half sacks, including five and a half during the 2020 campaign. His use of violent hands, as well as his athletic ability, gives the 6-foot-3, 305-pound interior linemen the ability to play the nose or the 3-technique.
Although his stature shows promise for his future, he is still very raw, and proper coaching from Rod Marinelli should bring the best out in Nixon. Although he may not be much of an impact player in year one, he could be a cornerstone piece for the Silver and Black for years to come.
The disappointing final seven games for the Silver and Black exposed the still many holes in the team. And many of those problems stemmed from the defense not being able to get a stop or a big play. Improvements at all three levels in the first three rounds of this draft will push the defense in the right direction. This will allow Gus Bradley to develop his players and push the Raiders back into the postseason.
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