The Las Vegas Raiders added plenty of new faces at defensive tackle, but holdover Johnathan Hankins will continue to play a key role.
It is no big secret that the Las Vegas Raiders defense struggled in a big way this past season, finishing out as one of the bottom-3 units in football. The Silver and Black struggled to get solid play on all three levels, including upfront along the defensive line, where they could not get any pass rush.
All told, the Raiders notched only 21 sacks as a team and heading into the 2021 offseason, you knew that changes were coming. In terms of the defensive tackle spot, wholesale changes were made, including the Raiders bringing in some veteran talent that is looking to prove they can earn a starting role.
Despite the changes, Johnathan Hankins remains a constant, and in 2020, he was one of the few Raiders on that side of the ball that actually put in a solid effort. Hankins played in all 16 games for the second straight season, racked up nearly 50 tackles, and earned himself another one-year deal with the Raiders.
Raiders taking chances on veteran talent
As stated earlier, Las Vegas is taking some chances on veteran talent, including former No. 3 overall pick Solomon Thomas. Also, the Raiders brought in Quinton Jefferson and Darius Philon, two guys looking to latch on and prove they should be full-time starters at the NFL level.
In addition, keep an eye on undrafted free agent Darius Stills, who I believe could not only make the team but play a key role in 2021 as well. Kendall Vickers is another player who looks ready to make an impact this summer, so in terms of depth, the numbers are there, now we just need to see who can actually come in and make a difference.
The Las Vegas Raiders have plenty of position groups to keep an eye on, and here are the three most important at minicamp.
All told, this is a position group that may have a ton of new faces, but it could improve in a big way in 2021. Las Vegas struggled on all three levels of the defense last season, but Hankins was solid and will be expected to lead a brand new group in Bradley’s new system in 2021.