Five Oakland Raiders who must step up with Aldon Smith gone

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Justin Ellis

Ellis was supposed to anchor the middle of the Raiders’ run defense beside Dan Williams. However, Ellis has been hurt.

Ellis played in the past two games, but the Raiders surrendered more than 200 rushing yards to the Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ellis has got to help the team against the run and the pass. He needs to build on last year’s solid rookie campaign.

Especially if the Raiders revert to more 4-3 defensive looks. Then they will rely on Ellis to not just eat space, but they will need Ellis to make plays on the quarterback too.