The Raiders' "best kept secret" is proof that they'll have an elite defense in 2024

At least they'll be decent on one side of the ball.
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

If you had to pick the Raiders' best kept secret heading into 2024, who would you choose? Malcolm Koonce? Jack Jones? You'll note how all the intriguing options are on one very specific side of the ball.

And that's not to say that the Raiders don't have good players on offense – Davante Adams is still a stud, their offense line has Some Guys, and Brock Bowers will probably be good! And that's good enough for us. But none of those players are necessarily flying under the radar anymore.

The defense, on the other hand, is full of unsung heroes. It's why Bleacher Report, in their latest big listicle, found a star-in-the-making right in the middle of Vegas' defense: Robert Spillane. Here's their rationale:

Raiders' "best kept secret" is proof they'll have an elite defense in 2024

"After signing with the Raiders in free agency, last season was Spillane's first as a full-time starter and he made the most of the opportunity ... The six-year veteran cracked triple digits in total tackles for the first time with 148 and a good portion of those were quality tackles as PFF credited him with 52 defensive stops. He also found a way to impact the passing game with three interceptions, another career high, and four passes defended."

To be fair, they're not wrong: Spillane, going into this season, has the highest PFF grade – positionally speaking – of any player on the Raiders defense. (And maybe that's a bit alarming considering the money they've spent this offseason, but whatever. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.) The fact that the Raiders' quietly have the 17th best linebacker in football and most people have no idea who he is speaks to 1. the quality of depth they have at every level and 2. that, as it turns out, casual NFL fans don't do deep dives on PFF.

So when the Raiders quietly have one of the more elite defenses in football next year, remember this blog. Thank you PFF, we always loved you and have never said anything bad about you or your grading system ever.