The Las Vegas Raiders have added strong pieces to their defensive line in the last two years, but Pro Football Focus feels they are one of the worst in football.
Since taking over as general manager, Mike Mayock has made it a point to get this Raiders team better up front on the defensive side of the ball. After the team mustered only 13 sacks during the 2018 season, Mayock selected Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, though he struggled as a rookie.
Later on, Mayock selected Maxx Crosby in the fourth round, and he went on to have a season that put him in the conversation of being the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. Johnathan Hankins was added via free agency last year, and he played well in his first season in the Silver and Black.
This offseason, Maliek Collins was brought in via free agency, and he joins a defensive tackle group that is young and talented, while Carl Nassib is going to bring excellent depth on the edges. Still, even with wholesale changes along the defensive line, Pro Football Focus does not see this as an elite unit.
Raiders defensive line ranked No. 28 overall entering the 2020 season.
Even with the addition of Crosby and Ferrell last year, Pro Football Focus feels that this group is a bit of an unknown heading into 2020, ranking them at No. 28 overall. Crosby dominated as a rookie in 2019, but Ferrell struggled from the start, though he did play his best football towards the end of the season when he was put back on the edge where he belongs.
That is a talented duo, one that is very young, and is only going to get better entering the 2020 campaign. In addition, the Raiders have some solid young players in the middle of their defensive line, and you can expect Maurice Hurst to continue his ascend to being a potential Pro Bowler this season.
While this group is young and inexperienced, there is no way they should have been ranked this low in terms of the whole league. Crosby is already a double-digit sack guy, and Maliek Collins is going to come in and help both Hurst, and P.J. Hall get better in Year 3.
The real story will be how guys like Hall, and Arden Key play in their third year, because they are complete Wild Cards up front. Las Vegas has bolstered all three levels of their defense, and I believe that based on talent, they are going to surprise some people with how good the completed unit is in 2020.