Raiders: How the Defensive Line rotation could play out in 2022
The Raiders had significant turnover in their defensive line room for a second consecutive offseason. However, the team did make a massive commitment to fan favorite and breakout star Maxx Crosby. He is now set to be around for 5 more seasons. The new regime also decided to retain Johnathan Hankins to shift over to nose tackle, a more natural spot.
Joining Hankins inside is Kendall Vickers, who spent most of 2021 on the Raiders practice squad but flashed a good motor in 2020. The Raiders also return practice squad player Gerri Green, who hasn’t played significant snaps in his career.
Former #4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell and 2021 3rd round draft pick Malcolm Koonce are the other two returning players on the defensive line. Ferrell and Koonce are both switching positions as well. Ferrell was thought to possibly be able to shift inside as a 3-4 defensive end, but he has been working mostly as an outside linebacker, a position that likely does not play to his strengths.
Ferrell lacks the bend and athleticism to play on the edge and rush the passer, although he is a great run defender. The switch to 3-4 outside linebacker will likely benefit Koonce, however. Koonce does have the speed and athleticism to rush from an upward stance and he has experience in that role. Koonce likely has the inside track to that third pass rusher role.