Raiders draft outlook: Defensive line

Raiders draft outlook: Defensive line
April 30, 2014, 2:30 pm
Share This Post

Pat Sims is expected to be surrounded by ends LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck and tackle Antonio Smith. (USATSI)

Raiders Draft Outlook
Outside Linebackers
Inside Linebackers
Defensive Linemen
May 1 -- Wide Receviers
May 1 -- Offensive Linemen
May 2 -- Tight Ends
May 3 -- Specialists
May 4 -- Running Backs
May 5 -- Quarterbacks

Editor’s note: Insider Scott Bair will have draft content every day leading up to the NFL Draft (May 8-10), including position breakdowns, retrospectives, mock drafts and more; bookmark our Road to the NFL Draft

The Raiders weren’t happy with their four-man pass rush last season. Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver used creative blitzes to create pressure, but the Raiders would rather disrupt without using extra men.

That’s why, especially after the loss of Lamarr Houston to free agency, they went out and got a trio of proven pass rushers. The Raiders signed ends LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck and tackle Antonio Smith to solidfy their defensive front.

They’ll play alongside Pat Sims, who returns on a one-year contract and will anchor the interior. Stacy McGee is also available as a run stuffer, but the Raiders need greater depth to achieve the line rotation most 4-3 defenses desire.

Let’s not forget that Smith, Woodley and Tuck are all 29 or older. Depth would help decrease workload and increase effectiveness of this established, yet aging trio.

The draft should have viable options to help generate a pass rush now and develop starters for the future.

Who's here: DT David Carter, DE Jack Crawford, DT Ricky Lumpkin, DE Chris McCoy, DT Stacy McGee, DE Ryan Robinson, DT Pat Sims, DT Antonio Smith, DT Troup Torell, DE Justin Tuck, DE. C.J. Wilson, DE LaMarr Woodley

Draft needs: The Raiders need depth at defensive end and tackle, and could go for a defender in the first few rounds at either spot.

Good fits: Anyone who follows this site regularly knows I think Pittsburgh tackle Aaron Donald is a real difference maker. He’s undersized at 6-foot-1, but he has a high motor, great speed and agility for a defensive tackle. He knows how to use leverage and has great instincts around the ball. He might be a strong option if the Raiders trade down some or out of the first round.

Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan would be a steal in the second round, though Florida’s Dominique Easley or Arizona State’s Will Sutton are more realistic options.

The quality of 4-3 defensive ends isn’t terribly high outside Jadeveon Clowney, who won’t make it to No. 5 overall. Boise State’s DeMarcus Lawrence could be an option at No. 36 overall. He’s a legitimate edge rusher who could improve under Tuck’s leadership. West Virginia’s Will Clarke has the frame and instincts desired to make a quality end at the next level. He’s projected to go in the third round.


More Team Talk