As we enter draft season, there are two main strategies to be looked at. Usually, when their pick arrives, a team will either choose what they believe is the best player available or instead pick a player who fills a hole on their roster. We’ve seen the Las Vegas Raiders do a bit of both recently, but with a large chunk of their defensive line hitting the open market this offseason, it would make sense to look at the draft for reinforcements. Here are three interior defensive line prospects that could help the Raiders.
Which defensive line prospects should the Raiders target this year?
Jordan Davis, Georgia
Jordan Davis is an absolute freak of nature, and nothing less. Standing at six-foot-six and weighing 341 pounds, you probably wouldn’t expect Davis to move with as much ease as he does.
In fact, you wouldÂ neverÂ expect him to run a 4.78 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, but he did that. His 10’3″ broad jump is nothing short of spectacular as well. To put that into comparison, as Sam Monson from Pro Football Focus pointed out, Jerry Rice ran a 4.7, and Jarvis Landry beat Davis out by .01 seconds at 4.77.
4.82 Jordan Davis ðŸ‘€
350+ lbs.#NFLCombine #NFL pic.twitter.com/isjGphug2L
— Mario Tovar (@_MarioTovar) March 5, 2022
Davis didn’t fill up the stat sheet in 2021, as he only notched 32 tackles and two sacks. Still, he was able to move around interior offensive linemen with ease, and he was tremendous when it came to run defense. His combination of size and athleticism leaves his potential limitless. Davis will likely fall halfway through the first round, so the Raiders may have to move up a couple of picks to land him.
DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
If Las Vegas decides to look elsewhere in round one, DeMarvin Leal could be a great pickup in round two.
Leal is largely considered to go anywhere in the first three rounds, so taking him with their second-round pick would be a fair assumption. DeMarvin played both inside and on the edge last year with the Aggies, racking up 58 tackles and 8.5 sacks. Although he played well at both positions, he was noticeably better at defensive tackle. His pass-rushing skills looked better on the inside, where the 290-pound player could use his size more instead of agility.
When asked if heâ€™s ready to play some 3-technique: â€œI love it. I feel like I can play any position on the defensive line. No matter where Iâ€™m at, Iâ€™m going to be happy with it.â€
-Texas A&M DL DeMarvin Leal #NFLCombine2022
— Mario Tovar (@_MarioTovar) March 4, 2022
Leal does have some growing to do, and with that, there will be some growing pains as he begins his NFL career. Although he’s strong, he’s not able to shove offensive linemen around routinely, and he’s not especially agile either. Still, Leal has a lot of talent and is very instinctive. He knows the game well, and with time, the skills will come as well.
Zachary Carter, Florida
If the second round comes around and the Raiders are still looking to grab a defensive tackle, Zachary Carter would be a great choice.
Carter turned in an average showing at the NFL Combine last week, but he’s still an electric prospect. Zachary had the best season of his college career last year, with 31 tackles, 11 of which were for a loss. He also forced a fumble and recorded eight sacks.
Carter isn’t especially big for a defensive tackle, but he’s still bigger than your average edge rusher. Lying in the grey area between those two is what Carter could become: a hybrid-type player who can stuff the middle yet is still nimble enough to dance around offensive tackles on the edge. Carter isn’t overly strong, but his speed and athleticism in general are very impressive. If the Raiders could land him in rounds 2-3, it would be considered a steal.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Steve Luciano