Just one year ago, former Raiders GM Mike Mayock selected Malcolm Koonce in the third round. Now entering his sophomore season, there’s reason to believe the upcoming season will end differently.
Around this time last year, the Las Vegas Raiders entered the 2021 NFL draft with seven picks at their disposal. For the first half of the draft, Las Vegas had a first, second, and two third-round picks in their possession.
With these four picks, right tackle Alex Leatherwood was selected using the first. With the second, the Silver and Black held the 48th overall pick, but traded up to 43 and grabbed safety Tre’von Moehrig. The two third-round picks were intriguing, being they were back-to-back selections, at 79 and 80; The same back-to-back style selections Las Vegas had the year prior in 2020, and one-year later in 2022.
Using those third-rounders, the Raiders added Divine Deablo and edge rusher Malcolm Koonce, with the latter being the subject of discussion.
Koonce would go on to appear in 5 contests, recording 2 sacks and 2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Considering this was the product of a mere 48 defensive snaps, one could call Koonce’ shortened season a promising one.
For comparison, Yannick Ngakoue led the Raiders with 10 sacks, doing so in 834 defensive snaps. Using Koonce’ trajectory, he would have compiled 18 sacks by the time he reached this snap count, albeit fresh legs from Koonce and lack of attention commanded in comparison to Ngakoue certainly play factors.
Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will be hoping Koonce is able to pick up where he left off, and there’s a few reasons to believe the former Buffalo edge rusher will do just that. Here are 3 of those reasons.