Oakland Raiders: 6 potential trades to improve the 2019 roster

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders looks on during the warm up before the game against the Denver Broncos at RingCentral Coliseum on September 09, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders looks on during the warm up before the game against the Denver Broncos at RingCentral Coliseum on September 09, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 8
Next
HOUSTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 29: Kyle Allen #7 of the Carolina Panthers passes under pressure from Whitney Mercilus #59 of the Houston Texans in the first half at NRG Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 29: Kyle Allen #7 of the Carolina Panthers passes under pressure from Whitney Mercilus #59 of the Houston Texans in the first half at NRG Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Whitney Mercilus was one of the centerpieces of the strong Texans defense the past few years, but since Jadeveon Clowney left, the team may be looking to get younger. The 28-year-old is in a contract year and is only due $6 million over the season.

The linebacker filled in for Brian Cushing during his injury years and has experience playing in the middle in a 4-3 system. His sack total hasn’t been too high, but that’s mostly due to J.J Watt and Clowney hogging the numbers. Mercilus could be a cheap, veteran option to fill Burfict’s absence.

The linebacker only had three sacks last year but had 25 quarterback pressures, which means he’s getting pressure on the quarterback. I also watched some game film on him and he knows how to get past tackles and can play inside as well.

He’s more of a hybrid linebacker/defensive lineman. What makes him special is his coverage ability as well. He can run toe-to-toe with most running backs, something Burfict can’t do.

Mercilus will instantly make an impact on the younger defensive line, which has lacked pressure on the quarterbacks, but finally helped the defensive backfield nab their first interception last week against the Colts. Having a pass-rusher can help the secondary play better as it forces the quarterback to make bad decisions in order to not take a sack.

This is a contract year for Mercilus, so the Texans may be looking to get something for him, if they know he is not returning.