The Las Vegas Raiders should be elite coming off the edge this season, but an injury to the group is causing some depth issues.
After fielding an All-Pro and Pro Bowl alternate duo at the edge positions in ’21, the Las Vegas Raiders took things a step further by acquiring a second All-Pro in free agency. With young stud Maxx Crosby and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year runner up Chandler Jones, it’s extremely possible the league’s best edge rushing duo is right here in Las Vegas.
Needless to say, there’s no problems when it comes to the starting pair of this unit. Beyond them, however, is a scary proposition.
On Friday, the Raiders announced edge rusher Kyler Fackrell, who was slated to be the third edge rusher after Jones and Crosby, is hitting the Injured Reserves list. Such a move before roster cuts effectively ends Fackrell’s season with the Raiders, although he is eligible to play for a different team should the Silver and Black part ways with the 30-year-old.
Fackrell agreed to a one-year deal worth upwards of $1.187 million with Las Vegas earlier in the offseason. Now, before it started, Fackrell’s playing time with the Raiders in 2022 has come to an end.
Additional options remain on the Raiders roster
While the Raiders expected big things from Fackrell in 2022, the roster still houses players who can take his place. One of these players is former fourth-overall pick, Clelin Ferrell.
Las Vegas has experimented with Ferrell at outside linebacker this year, potentially giving the 25-year-old a chance to earn significant play time this upcoming season. In an interview earlier in the offseason, Ferrell was noted as being a defensive end. The Raider entering his fourth NFL season replied, “Hey, i’m an outside linebacker now”.
Malcolm Koonce is another option for the Raiders, although head coach Josh McDaniels isn’t too happy with the 24-year-old at the moment. On Thursday, Las Vegas Review Journal’s Cassie Soto captured footage of McDaniels ripping into Koonce for getting too close to Carr on a drill, seen here. Still, Koonce is a viable option, and even spent Thursday taking snaps in Fackrell’s place as the team’s third edge rusher.
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While he isn’t specifically an edge rusher, camp standout Darien Butler has an increased chance to steal snaps at OLB, specifically in the 3-4 fronts Fackrell would’ve appeared in. The coverage specialist won’t be used as a primary edge rusher, but the former Arizona State linebacker is comfortable playing outside linebacker, and should see snaps there this upcoming season.