The long wait is over. Yes, it’s the preseason, but it’s football and it’s your Las Vegas Raiders. Rejoice, Raider Nation!
The Raiders open the preseason against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and it’s the beginning of one of the most anticipated seasons for the Raiders franchise in a long time. The preseason is used to see who will get playing time in the regular season and just make the team overall. Here are three players on defense who will need a strong showing to avoid the pink slip within a couple of weeks.
Who needs to shine from the Raiders’ defense?
DE Clelin Ferrell
We need to start with the obvious. Ferrell didn’t draft himself at number four overall, so the hype surrounding a top-five pick wasn’t created by him. With that being said, he hasn’t performed to the level of a first-rounder, especially when teammate Maxx Crosby was picked up in round four the same year and has outperformed him.
This season and, in reality, this preseason could be it for Ferrell. The last big moment for Ferrell in a Raider jersey was in 2020, Week 13 against the New York Jets. Last season, he was a healthy scratch to begin the season and then essentially a forgotten player the rest of the year. If he wants to stay, he will need to perform at the highest level starting tomorrow, or he could be looking around for a job sooner rather than later.
DT Vernon Butler
The former first-round pick has not had eye-catching numbers, but he was brought in to be a rotational piece. The Raiders went with some defensive linemen in the draft, and they could easily push Butler for time. The opportunity for Butler could be huge as it seems like Johnathan Hankins and Bilal Nichols may not dress for this game. Obviously, Butler never lived up to the first-round pick that the Panthers used on him. The youth may try and serve in this game, but if Butler wants to solidify his spot and possibly push for first-team reps, this game against the Jaguars would be a nice start.
Is time running out for a particular Raiders cornerback?
CB Amik Robertson
Robertson was a fourth-round pick in 2020. He showed up to the Raiders with a chip on his shoulder and wanted to make a statement. With his third season upcoming, the words have just remained that, just words. There are more highlights or lowlights of Robertson being beaten on a play than making a play. With the secondary additions made this offseason, Robertson’s place on the team could be hanging by a thread. For the time being, it appears Robertson will have his chance to do something. Nevertheless, with the depth appearing better than in previous years, the patience to wait may no longer be there. Essentially, if Robertson doesn’t show up, he could be out of Vegas soon.
*Top Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports