Which Oakland Raiders Players Are Foundation Pieces?

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Quality Young Starters (Defense)

Nov 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders lineabcker Sio Moore (55) celebrates after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Ellis, Dan Williams, Mario Edwards Jr., Sio Moore, TJ Carrie, DJ Hayden, Marquette King

Moving to the defense, this is where the majority of the Raiders quality young starters lie.

I’d peg Justin “Jelly” Ellis as the player with the best chance to move up to the foundation players category, with DJ Hayden as the next most likely. Ellis is one of the steals of the 2014 class coming out of the 4th round, and should be a very good nose tackle for years to come.

Hayden may not live up to the expectations of his high draft slot, but it’s too early to write him off, and he has to prove he can stay healthy and also consistent before he can be considered a building block player. So for now, he finds himself in this tier.

Another steal from the 2014 class is TJ Carrie, who drafted in the 7th round, looks like a stud nickel corner. Because of the role that he will play, he likely won’t ever be considered a building block, but players like him are important to the success of the secondary.

Sio is a guy many Raiders fans like quite a bit. He’s got that Raiders swagger to him, just from his attitude and the way he plays. He’s solid in run support but he is suspect in pass coverage. He also tends to make really simple mental mistakes, such as bad angles or just being out of position.

So Sio has plenty to clean up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you said he’s one guy I should have included in the higher tier.

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Outside of Rodney Hudson, Dan Williams is the best free agent the Raiders brought on board. He is one of the better defensive tackles in the league against the run, and he just turned 28, so he has several good years still ahead of him.

Mario Edwards Jr. was a surprise pick towards the top of the second round. He’s a tremendous athlete for his size and is stout against the run, but he needs to work on his pass rushing skills.

With so much help on the defensive line, he’ll have plenty of one on one time with offensive lineman to make an impact. I’m still skeptical of the pick and his inclusion in this tier but for now, we’ll leave him here.

Lastly, Marquette King. He’s got a booming leg and a ball that hangs forever, but his placement is shaky. He is an above-average punter though, with room to still improve, so he gets the nod as a quality young starter.

Next: Raiders Foundation Pieces: Missed The Cut