Las Vegas Raiders attempt to tie up loose ends amid playoff push
The Las Vegas Raiders have kicked the tires on multiple high-profile free agents. What’s the status of the defensive end position going into Week 12?
Over the past month, the Las Vegas Raiders have focused primarily on upgrades for their defensive line, specifically the pass rush. Since mid-October, they’ve signed David Irving, Vic Beasley Jr., and Takkarist McKinley.
The three veterans have a combined 67.5 sacks for their careers.
All three defenders are in different stages of the acclimation process in Vegas. Irving has appeared in two games, playing 40 defensive snaps. He reverted to the practice squad after Week 11. Beasley is also on the practice squad and eligible to play against (his former team) the Atlanta Falcons Sunday.
Fans may want to hold their excitement for McKinley, who failed physicals with the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.
Among the trio, Beasley is the most accomplished. In 2016, he led the league in sacks (15.5) as an All-Pro. Since then, the 28-year-old has 18 sacks but put together a strong finish to the 2019 term, logging four sacks last December. If Beasley can replicate that down the stretch, the Raiders would be pleased with him.
Head coach Jon Gruden refrained from a projection for Beasley during Wednesday’s media presser:
The Clemson pipeline to Oakland and now Las Vegas remains strong. On Wednesday, Gruden shared his philosophy with veteran players who may have caught his eye going into their drafts (starts at 5:10):
"We’ve always looked at what we thought of the players coming out. When McKinley came out of UCLA, when Vic came out of Clemson, I know I liked them both, I know Mike liked them both. And when players are available that we liked, we want to bring them here as soon as possible. If everything is legitimate and it works out, financially and in all the other ways. That’s the biggest thing and I learned that from Al Davis when I was here…If they’ve played great before, there’s a chance they can play great again and sometimes a change of scenery is what these guys need."
Last year, the Raiders squeezed a little bit of production out of Dion Jordan, whom they signed last November. He recorded five tackles, two quarterback hits, and two sacks in 173 snaps.