Early prediction for the 2022 Raiders offensive and defensive line
- Maxx Crosby
- Chandler Jones
- Kyler Fackrell
- Malcolm Koonce
- Clelin Ferrell
- Jonathan Hankins
- Matthew Butler
- Neil Ferrell Jr.
- Bilal Nichols
- Vernon Butler
For the sake of this roster breakdown, I included Crosby, Jones, Fackrell, and Koonce as defensive ends, despite their likelihood to be stand-up 3-4 outside linebackers. Crosby and Jones will carry this unit. They are going to be a dominant tandem that can take this defense to another level. The new regime clearly made Crosby’s extension and Jones’ acquisition a priority.
Another priority signing was Bilal Nichols, who will start as a 3-4 defensive end and is now the 8th highest-paid player on the team.
Koonce and Fackrell are solid bets to make the team and provide a solid second wave of pass rush behind Jones and Crosby. This has been an area lacking for the Raiders for years and this depth will pay dividends. Clelin Ferrell, the player with the second-highest cap hit on the team, should rotate in as an interior defensive end and outside pass rusher. His versatility likely makes him more desirable to this new regime. Hankins was re-signed by the new regime to return as the starting nose tackle and the 4th round investment into Neil Ferrell Jr. likely means he will get the backup nose tackle spot over Andrew Billings.
Joining Nichols and Hankins as interior defensive line starters are likely Vernon Butler or Matthew Butler. Vernon Butler has been underwhelming for much of his career despite being a first-round pick, while Matthew Butler should make the team as a backup as a 2022 5th-round draft pick.
The Las Vegas Raiders are locking up their stars to long-term deals, proving they are not messing around as they enter a new era of football.
I chose Vernon Butler to make the team over Kyle Peko, Tyler Lancaster, Gerri Green, and Kendall Vickers due to the guarantees in his salary and experience, but it would not surprise me if the Raiders brought in another defensive tackle such as Darius Philon, Ndamukong Suh, or Sheldon Richardson.