Oakland Raiders Front Seven is Another Team Strength

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August 15, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes the football against Oakland Raiders defensive end Antonio Smith (94) during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Smith

As a 3-4 end, Antonio Smith had seven sacks in 20012 and five sacks in 2013 with the Houston Texans. This year, Smith’s going to be the three-technique in the Raiders’ 4-3 base defense with a little run as a 3-4 end when the Raiders switch it up. I’ll stop short of predicting 10 sacks or more and say eight but his quickness will make him a mismatch for guards.

His quickness off the ball will also help the Raiders defend against the run as 3-techniques are often the penetrators that get tackles for losses. It also helps that Smith is violent with his hands—enabling  him to shed blocks as that is needed when playing the run. Along with his ability to play the run and rush the passer, Smith has this thing called personality as his nick name is “Ninja Assassin.”

You need at least one character on a great team as Ted Hendricks won Super Bowls in 1976, 1980 and 1983 with the alias “Mad Stork.” He was a real character that did it all from having lemonade stands to ordering strippers to training camp. Someone has to keep the players loose at critical times while stepping up to make big plays whenever they are needed and can be made.