The Las Vegas Raiders suddenly have a defensive unit that can get stops, and Pro Football Focus has given them some high grades so far in 2021.
Getting out to a 2-0 start is great, as the Las Vegas Raiders have looked very good during their quick two-game winning streak to start the 2021 season. However, this is a team that has gotten off to hot starts recently, so it is not the fact that they are out to a 2-0 exciting start, but how they are doing it.
Las Vegas is getting it done on both sides of the ball, something that could not be said about last year’s team. They have legitimate dominant players on defense, as well as offense, and while the offense was tremendous last season, that defense made Raiders fans cringe weekly.
In 2021, led by edge rusher Maxx Crosby and company, the Raiders defense is a legitimate unit, and the honors are starting to roll in from the national media. In fact, in terms of edge rushers, Pro Football Focus grades Crosby out as No. 1 so far in 2021.
Crosby looked like an All-Pro in Week 1 and followed that up by wreaking havoc against Big Ben and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has become a legitimate NFL star, and in only his third season, could be an all-time Raider before all is said and done.
In the secondary, Casey Hayward Jr. is making his presence felt, filling a huge need for this Raiders defense at cornerback. Like Crosby, Pro Football Focus is high on Hayward as well, grading him out as having the highest coverage grade amongst cornerbacks in the entire NFL.
Raiders defense is suddenly a strong part of their team
In 2020, the Raiders offense was top-10 in the NFL, but the defense finished up in the bottom-3. This offseason, Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden made sure that would not be the case again in 2021, and they utilized free agency money, and most of their draft picks fixing the defensive side of the ball.
So far, the payoff has been great, as even rookie Nate Hobbs is playing at a very high level after winning the slot cornerback job.
Based on his career, history tells us that the Las Vegas Raiders should have Derek Carr under center for their game against Miami on Sunday.
If the defense continues to play the way they have, this has the strong possibility of being a special season for this Raiders team. We already know the offense is going to put up points in bunches, but the defense has turned heads early on, and this could only be the beginning for that group.