Overall Grade and Recap
As we have discussed the defensive end position was a bit of a mixed bag for the Raiders but it was largely positive thanks primarily to the emergence of Maxx Crosby. The Eastern Michigan product became a dominant pass rusher in the second half of the season and it is reasonable to expect him to build on that in 2020.
Clelin Ferrell’s struggles have been well documented but he showed flashes of ability and with a full offseason under his belt he could come back stronger and better than his mediocre rookie campaign. Arden Key is still on a cheap rookie contract and he also showed flashes before his season-ending injury so there is reason to be optimistic about his eventual return.
After the historic struggles in 2018 the Raiders pass rush was closer to the league average and their 32 sacks was good enough for 19th in the league so there was marked improvement. While that is not all on the defensive ends they accounted for 25.5 of those sacks. There was also an improvement in rush defense as the Raiders went from 30th overall in 2018 to 8th in 2019.
The defensive end group is a rare position of strength for the Raiders on defense but there is certainly room for improvement and a need for consistency, especially from their two young stars.