Oakland Raiders 2015 Free Agency Watch List: Defense

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Dec 7, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck (91) celebrates after a sack against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the San Francisco 49ers 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In this part two of our two part free agency watch list series, we will look at potential fits for the Raiders at every position on the defensive side of the ball. Yesterday, we covered the offense. While last year’s offense certainly struggled and could use a lot of help at a number of positions, last year’s defense, due to lack of depth, injuries, and poor production from some starters, was deplorable for much of the year. While some of the franchise’s marquee young talent plays on this side of the ball, there are a lot of position groups that need to get better or deeper quickly.

The 2015 draft class is unbelievably deep in some key defensive position groups, notably pass rushers and interior defensive linemen; but the class is shallow in some others: inside linebackers and safeties especially. And while Reggie McKenzie likely has a draft board full of defensive talent, there are just too many holes and thin spots on the roster to fill using rookies.

With McKenzie under pressure now from the NFLPA to spend over 89% of his available salary cap, this is going to be a big free agent signing year for the Raiders. Here’s some names to watch:

Next: FA Watch List: Defensive Tackle