1. Malcolm Koonce
When it comes to the Las Vegas Raiders 2023 defense, nobody took a bigger step forward than Malcolm Koonce. The Raiders selected Koonce out of the University of Buffalo in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and the hope was that with his blend of size and speed, he could be a perfect complement to Maxx Crosby in the pass rush.
Koonce proved all of that and more, putting an exclamation point on his season with a three-sack effort against the Kansas City Chiefs on Christmas Day. He finished the season with eight sacks and 17 quarterback hits, playing in all 17 games for the Raiders for the second straight season.
Going into next season, Koonce has the potential to be a double-digit sack guy at the NFL level, and will still only be 26 years old for the 2024 campaign. The Raiders were shockingly good on defense this past season, and with Koonce being so young and explosive, you have to think he is going to be on other team's radars going into next offseason.
The best thing the Raiders can do is to lock him up now, and avoid any kind of issues this time next year.
Jack Jones is another name to keep an eye on, but he cannot be extended until next offseason. If he puts together a campaign similar to the way he closed out 2023 with the Silver and Black, the team should look to make him the CB1 in Las Vegas for a long time.