To say that the Las Vegas Raiders need help on the defensive line would be an understatement. The constant placeholders at defensive tackle have halted any glimmer of production. This can all change this offseason, as the Raiders will have plenty of cash and assets to play around with. Barring any changes, there will be an abundance of ways to fill the hole in the interior defensive line.
DeLeon Deciphers: Fixing The Interior D-Line
Scenario No. 1 For The Raiders
- Trade Target: Neville Gallimore, DAL
- Free Agent: Andrew Billings, LV
- Draft Pick: Bryan Bresee, Clemson
Neville Gallimore has shown flashes in Dallas but has never been consistent. Still, the Raiders could facilitate a low-risk trade to insert Gallimore into their underwhelming interior rotation. A change of scenery could be good for the 26-year-old as he looks to reshape his career. The Raiders went a similar route in 2022, signing Andrew Billings to a one-year deal worth just over $1 million. This deal ended up being a steal as Billings finished with a 41.4 percent run-stop win rate, good for ninth among NFL defensive tackles. Raiders’ brass will almost certainly look into re-signing the 27-year-old after he carved out a nice role for himself.
In addition, the Raiders can snag Clemson product Bryan Bresee. Although a polarizing draft prospect due to injuries, Bresee’s motor and fluidity are intriguing. Bresee would be a risk if the Raiders stay at seven overall but would be a fit as a trade back candidate.
Scenario No. 2 For The Raiders
- Trade Target: Zach Sieler, MIA
- Free Agent: Javon Hargrave, PHI
- Draft Pick: Jacob Slade, Michigan State
As it stands, Miami is going to need to make some adjustments to clear cap space. One of the cap casualties could be defensive lineman Zach Sieler. As he approaches the final year of his deal, Sieler has played well enough to earn a decent extension. The Raiders could acquire a lineman with over 20 starts, 5.5 sacks, and 13 tackles for loss in his past two seasons.
As a premier addition to the defense, the Raiders land a big-ticket player in Javon Hargrave. Although he’s 30 years old, Hargrave has stayed healthy while enjoying a career year with 11 sacks in 2023. With this kind of dominance inside, it opens up a world of possibilities for Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones off the edge. The Eagles will have to make some difficult roster decisions, and Hargrave could be just what the Raiders need.
The Raiders can solidify their new look by adding Michigan State’s Jacob Slade into the mix. Potentially a day three pick, Slade could fall into the Raiders’ lap at a huge position of need. The 6’4″ Spartan is extremely physical while maintaining solid balance. He is raw, but his sure tackling would be welcomed in Las Vegas.
Scenario No. 3 For The Raiders
- Trade Target: Leki Fotu, AZ
- Free Agent: Dalvin Tomlinson, MIN
- Draft Pick: Gervon Dexter, Florida
Leki Fotu was far from perfect throughout the 2022â€“2023 season. However, with a potentially low asking price, the former fourth rounder could be a solid depth piece. Fotu gained starting experience in 2022 and will be on an expiring contract in 2023. The former rugby player might be worth a look in the desert.
After solidifying depth, the Raiders could go after a Bonafide starter in Dalvin Tomlinson. Patrick Graham has a history with Tomlinson from their time in New York, and the fit would be ideal. The contract would also be plenty cheaper than going after a guy like Da’Ron Payne, who could potentially ask for around $20 million annually. Tomlinson’s 79.1 Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade in 2023 is something the Raiders could desperately use.
To round out the new-look interior line, the Silver and Black can use a day-two pick on Florida’s Gervon Dexter. At 6’6″, Dexter is a physical force on the inside. He isn’t as fluid as you would hope, but he makes up for it in pure strength. The former five-star recruit could bring much-needed physicality to the Vegas defense.
*Top Photo: Cooper Neill/Getty Images