Raiders projected to have the NFL’s fifth-worst defense next season
By Brad Weiss
The Las Vegas Raiders have issues on all three levels of their defense, a unit that was recently ranked in the bottom-five of the NFL.
Heading into this offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders knew they needed to improve on the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders’ general manager, Mike Mayock, stated that the team was lacking playmakers on all three levels, which meant that changes were coming.
However, since making that statement, the Raiders have not done enough to bring in elite talent on the defense. Sure, Yannick Ngakoue is a great player and should be one of the better edge rushers this franchise has had since Khalil Mack was traded away, but he represents only a handful of new faces.
Las Vegas has done a nice job bringing back crucial pieces, however, including Johnathan Hankins and Nicholas Morrow, two of their top defensive players from last year. Also, the Raiders have added some talent to the defensive line, but at the expense of some of their own, as they released Arden Key and Maurice Hurst on Thursday.
Overall, the defense has not done enough yet, so hopefully, they have some tricks up their sleeve the rest of free agency, and in the draft.
Las Vegas Raiders defense projected to be terrible again in 2021
ESPN’s Mike Clay recently shared his current grades for the positional units of each team around the league and right now, he has Las Vegas with the fifth-worst defense in the NFL. Of course, things could change as we inch closer to the draft, and even after the Raiders take a swing across the three-day event, but as of now, there is not much hope for the unit.
While they are not that improved, I could see them being a lot better than the 28th-ranked defense. Ngakoue is going to come in and help open things up for Maxx Crosby, and you have to think the linebacker group is going to be better than they were under Paul Guenther.
Also, Gus Bradley is known for his work with the defensive backfield, so hopefully, he can get more out of a very young, but athletically talented group.
Last year, the defense was the Raiders Achilles Heel, as they did a nice job on the offensive side of the ball, finishing in the top-10 in the NFL. If Bradley can turn this group around, and get a few more pieces before all is said and done, this could end up being a middle-of-the-road defense, which is all this franchise needs right now.