3 Reasons the Las Vegas Raiders will earn a Wild Card spot in 2023
The new-look defensive line
The Raiders' defensive line is set to be one of the best in the NFL. With the onset of the passing-first mentality in the NFL right now, pass-rushers have been more important than ever. Teams with great pass rushes tend to have the most success on defense. Teams like the Browns who rostered Jadveon Clowney and Myles Garrett and even the Eagles who made it to the Super Bowl.
Last season, the top 5 teams that won on pass rushes were the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, and San Francisco 49ers.
The Raiders were down near the bottom at 24th with just 37%. However, last season one Raiders player stood out above them all. Maxx Crosby came in second place as an individual player who won run stops as an edge defender with 33%, only behind the Cowboys' Demarcus Lawrence at 36%.
Crosby has been one of the best and most valuable edge defenders in the NFL since 2021 and the Raiders rewarded him with a massive deal.
As a team, the Raiders were below average on the defensive line, but this year they're adding Tyree Wilson, their first-round pick out of Texas Tech. The six-foot-six monster who has a frame of 275 pounds was one of the best pass-rushers in college last year.
When draft day came around, I expected the Raiders to focus on the secondary and take Christian Gonzalez but they went with the defensive line, and with what we have seen in the preseason from him, Crosby and he look to be a dynamic duo for a long time.
In the AFC West when you play against the Cheifs, Broncos, and the Chargers every year, it's no question why the defensive line is important to the success of the Raiders.