Raiders news: Elite defensive line could make all the difference in 2024

The Las Vegas Raiders are bolstering their defensive line, and that could make all the difference in 2024.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Ian Maule/GettyImages

The Las Vegas Raiders roster boasts one of the best players in the NFL in star edge rusher Maxx Crosby. Since being a fourth-round pick out of Eastern Michigan back in 2019, Crosby has emerged as an elite talent for the Silver and Black, becoming a perennial NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

Since his arrival, the issue for the Raiders on defense has not been Crosby, but instead, the lack of talent the front office has put around him. On nearly every play, Crosby is being double-teamed and harassed by the opposition, though he is still able to put together gaudy numbers.

In 2023, things changed a bit for the Raiders on the defensive side of the ball, as we saw numerous players step up around Crosby. Guys like Malcolm Koonce, Divine Deablo, Jack Jones, and Robert Spillane dominated at times during the season, as Patrick Graham finally got his unit playing at a high level.

As Crosby enters his sixth season with the Raiders, the narrative surrounding the defense has changed. This is a group that is expected to take another leap forward in 2024, and thanks to a huge addition to the defensive line, it could be the difference in them being a playoff team this upcoming season.

Raiders bolstering the defense around Maxx Crosby

In a perfect world, Crosby would spend his entire NFL career with the Raiders, and hopefully bring the franchise another championship. The Raiders have won three Super Bowls in their history, but since the early 2000s, they have been more of a doormat than a playoff contender.

The arrival of Christian Wilkins, as well as the continued development of the supporting case around Crosby could mean the Raiders are an elite unit on that side of the ball in 2024, and beyond.

We know what Crosby brings to the table, and if Koonce can continue his rise from last year, where he had eight sacks after Antonio Pierce took over as head coach, the team could have two double-digit sack guys on the roster. The wild card will be second-year defensive lineman Tyree Wilson, who should stay on the inside moving forward, and Wilkins has already expressed that he hopes to help develop him.

If the Raiders are as good on the field as they are on paper on the defensive line, they could be one of the last teams standing when playoffs are announced next season.