The Las Vegas Raiders enter the offseason with uncertainty and likely some new faces. One position that may need a breath of fresh air is that of edge rusher. The Raiders have one of the best players in all of football in Maxx Crosby, but aside from him, there’s some room for improvement. Las Vegas will be able to address this through the 2023 NFL draft or free agency. So, how should the Raiders’ edge rusher position be handled?
Raiders Free Agency: Bring in another veteran?
There are a plethora of quality free agent options at the edge rusher position. The first two options are both from Philadelphia, with Robert Quinn and Brandon Graham both hitting the market. The Eagles won’t have enough cash to keep both without some serious financial gymnastics. Both of these players are entering their mid-30s and have seen better days. Still, both are still performing at a high level. With the right contract, it would make sense to take one of the two.
After those two, the level of talent does begin to drop. Yannick Ngakoue, Jadeveon Clowney, and Matthew Loannidis are the only notable names on the list. Ngakoue has spent time in Las Vegas, but it didn’t make a huge difference, and he is now two years older. Clowney and Loannidis are viable options but wouldn’t completely fix the positions by themselves. So, the Raiders’ edge rusher problem could be solved through the open market, but what about the draft?
2023 NFL Draft: There’s going to be some interesting options…
When it comes to the prospect pool in this year’s NFL draft, Will Anderson is far and above the best player in the draft. Anderson has a combination of speed and power similar to a member of the Avengers and would be a great addition to play alongside Crosby. Anderson has a very real chance of being taken before the Raiders’ choice at No. 7, so trading up might have to be an option here.
If Anderson is taken too early, then Tyree Wilson would be a solid selection. He’ll most likely be available at No. 7 and is effective against both the run and the pass. Lukas Van Ness out of Iowa will certainly be available for the Raiders, and his power and explosiveness would be a great fit in Las Vegas. Finally, rounding out the top draft selections would be Myles Murphy. Murphy, like many on this list, is powerful and plays with a very high motor. The Raiders’ edge rusher position could be addressed through the draft.
Raiders’ Edge Rusher Solution: Free Agency or the Draft?
The Raiders’ best option here would be the draft, in the first round. The top talent in free agency is aging and would likely demand a large contract, which is a recipe for cap space disaster. However, the draft would turn out to be a very good option.
Anderson, Wilson, Van Ness, and Murphy all have the potential to make an immediate impact. Each one would also be on a rookie contract. With Jones and Crosby both on big contracts already, the Raiders aren’t exactly in the position to have three big-money edge rushers. The absolute best talent Las Vegas could find here would be in the first round of the draft, and it makes the most sense money-wise as well. The Raiders’ edge rusher position should be addressed through the draft.
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