2. Bolster the interior of the defensive line
It’s safe to say that the pass rush of the Las Vegas Raiders took some steps forward in 2021. The team invested in edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue during free agency to pair with relentless Maxx Crosby. The former led the team with 10 sacks while Crosby added eight quarterback traps.
The duo had just over half of the club’s 35 sacks – 14 more than in 2020 (14). And it was the Raiders’ highest sack total since 2015 (38).
But this was still a defensive unit that allowed 47 offensive touchdowns. The club was a mediocre 19th in the NFL against the run.
And via Spotrac, defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins, Solomon Thomas, and Quinton Jefferson will all see their current contract expires in March and each could test free agency. The latter pair were signed to one-year deals this offseason and combined for eight sacks.
Middle linebacker Denzel Perryman led the team with 159 tackles and was followed by safety Johnathan Abram with 119 stops. Retaining Hankins, Thomas and Jefferson would offer some great continuity for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley (if he is retained).
And perhaps the Raiders could find at least a formidable more run-stuffer either in free agency or April’s draft.