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With big name players on the market such as Ndamukong Suh and Randall Cobb grabbing all the headlines, there are plenty of quality players the Raiders can sign who are flying under the radar.
QB Shaun Hill
If/when Matt Schaub is released, the Raiders will have a need for a veteran backup for Derek Carr. The backup QB market actually isn’t too bad, with Mark Sanchez, Matt Moore also available. Hill will probably fetch the lowest price tag of the group and has the most experience.
RB’s Shane Vereen or Roy Helu
Latavius Murray has shown promise, but with Darren McFadden expected not to return and the retirement of Maurice Jones-Drew, there is a need for another RB. Vereen and Helu both have similar styles, and would compliment Murray very well if signed. The draft class is loaded with talent at RB, though, so that might be the best route to take.
Sep 7, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Redskins running back Roy Helu (29) runs during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
TE Virgil Green
Julius Thomas might end up wearing Silver and Black in the near future, but if a big price tag scares away Reggie McKenzie, he’ll look elsewhere. Green draws the obvious Del Rio connection and while he won’t fill up the stat sheet, he would at least be a serviceable tight end.
OL Clint Boling and/or Brian La Puente
Rodney Hudson, Chris Myers, Mike Iupati and Orlando Franklin are the top prizes amongst available offensive lineman, but Boling and La Puente are both quality options. Boling was very good last season and is just 25 years old. La Puente is 29 years old and was graded as the 7th best Center in the NFL last season, per PFF.
DT’s Dan Williams, Stephen Paea or Henry Melton
Suh is the man everyone is after and Terrance Knighton is the runner up at this position, but there are several other DT’s who would be solid options. Melton, Williams, Paea all ranked in the top 15 amongst DT’s last season and they are just 28, 27 and 26, respectively.
ILB Nate Irving and OLB’s Malcolm Smith or Jabaal Sheard
Irving may not be “under the radar” per se, but he gets listed here because the ILB free agent class is quite uninspiring. Mason Foster is another young name who could be interesting, but he’s been inconsistent and also has struggled with injuries. Irving is a solid LB with connections to Del Rio.
The OLB options are very good, so there are a handful of players I’d be thrilled to sign. Smith gets the mention due to his connection with Ken Norton Jr. He’s a decent player who will know the defense being implemented. Sheard is just 25 years old and graded higher (via PFF) than Clay Matthews, Trent Cole and other notable names.
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CB’s Kareem Jackson or Patrick Robinson
Similar to the OLB class, the CB class has some quality young talent that isn’t getting talked about much. Jackson and Robinson are my favorite two options. Robinson is 27 and Jackson is 26, so both are in their prime, and either would fill a big need opposite D.J. Hayden. T.J. Carrie showed promise, but he’s best suited as a slot corner.
S Da’Norris Searcy
Alongside middle linebacker, the safety position is a glaring need on defense. Rahim Moore is a definitely possibility, but he doesn’t qualify as under the radar. Searcy on the other hand, isn’t a well known name. He filled in nicely in his first season as a starter in Buffalo, replacing Jairus Byrd. He is solid in both coverage and run support, and is just 27 years old.