Roquan Smith could be the missing puzzle piece to take this Las Vegas Raiders defense to another level alongside Denzyl Perryman.
Las Vegas Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler should be aggressive in making a trade for Roquan Smith, who has recently been named the 84th best player in the NFL top 100 by his peers.
In 2021 PFF (Pro Football Focus) graded Roquan Smith with 1,010 snaps, a 30.0 Run Defense Grade, and a 69.2 Coverage grade coming out with an overall of 47.8, while in 2020 Roquan performed much better with a PFF overall grade of 67.2. Also in 2020 and 2021, Smith was graded by PFF as a significantly better coverage backer than run stuffer.
The Raiders could benefit from his coverage abilities when matched up in the slot on tight ends or being a flat-assigned back to the running back. Denzel Perryman is a tackling machine made to stop the runs and fill gaps in the run game, as he tallied 121 solo tackles last year, so this would make for an excellent combo of linebackers who have different skill sets.
Perryman needs that complementary coverage backer to be the Batman and Robin-type role, and Smith excels in coverage while Perryman does so in run defense. This could add a new element to this defense where they are weak at the linebacker position when it comes to coverage.
What Smith will bring to the Raiders’ defense
Smith will give more versatility to the defense, and offenses will have to account for him, especially in the passing game. Patrick Graham could defiantly find a role for him on this defense that is loaded with young talent but could still use that coverage linebacker they are lacking.
The opposing offense will find that one on one match whether that be the running back into the flat, or option routes to the tight ends and slot receivers that Perryman will sometimes be matched up with due to the scheme and call on the offense to attack his vulnerability in coverage.
Raiders TE Darren Waller is seeking a new contract extension, despite his current one already taking him into his age-32 season in the NFL.
The Duo of Perryman and Smith would be quite the combination of the right ingredients together to reach new heights under this new Regime in Las Vegas.