Grading Raiders D-line

Grading Raiders D-line
January 15, 2013, 8:00 am
Share This Post

Almost 75 percent of the Raiders' sacks -- 18 1/2 -- came from the D-ine. (AP)

We are into our review of the Raiders' 4-12 season by looking at each position group and assigning grades. Up next -- the defensive line…

Defensive line
Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy -- 3 1/2 sacks, 9 1/2 tackles for loss
Defensive tackle Desmond Bryant -- 4 sacks, eight starts
Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly -- 1 sack, 30 QB pressures
Defensive end Lamarr Houston -- 4 sacks, 14 tackles for loss
Defensive end Andre Carter -- 2 1/2 sacks, 12 QB hits
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour -- 3 sacks, 8 games
Defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi -- 12 tackles, 8 solo, 13 games
Defensive end David Tollefson -- 1/2 a sack, 5 tackles, 15 games
Defensive end Jack Crawford -- 5 tackles, 4 games
Defensive tackle Brandon Bair -- did not play

The defensive line was supposed to be a strength for the Raiders in 2012, and while Oakland's 25 sacks were tied for a franchise low -- it equaled the 25 sacks the Raiders had in 2004 -- almost 75 percent of said sacks -- 18 1/2 -- came from the D-ine. Still, the four apiece by Desmond Bryant and Lamarr Houston also tied a low for a team high.

Yes, it was a rebuilding year, but Bryant, who wracked up all four of his sacks in the final four games of the season, and Houston seemed to improve from the previous year and both seemed to have an equally nasty disposition. Bryant became a starter at the season's midway point when Richard Seymour's hamstring went out and it appears as though Seymour, who will be an unrestricted free agent, has played his final game with the Raiders after being acquired for a first-round draft pick in 2009.

It was Seymour who said Matt Shaughnessy was on his way to becoming one of the elite run-defending defensive ends in the game but Shaughnessy still seemed slowed by the shoulder injury that limited him to three games in 2011.

Tommy Kelly might be a cap casualty, as he is due $6.5 million in base salary in 2013 with a cap number over $9.3 million. Andre Carter started to come on strong at the end as he recovered fully from the quadriceps injury that ended his 2011 Pro Bowl season early while David Tollefson proved to be more of a locker room presence than an impact player.

The two drafted rookies, Christo Bilukidi and Jack Crawford, were raw. Bryant and Carter join Seymour as unrestricted free agents. It's obvious the Raiders need to re-sign Bryant, who is blossoming, and if the price is right, they could take another shot at Carter.

The Raiders had only the No. 18-ranked rush defense in the NFL, but the 10 rushing yards they limited Kansas City, which finished fifth in rushing, to on Dec. 16 was a highlight.
Grade: D+