While the Oakland Raiders roster had a solid foundation heading into this offseason, there were plenty of holes that needed to be addressed. Of course, they, like every other NFL team, was unable to fill every hole they had in one offseason. But the good news is that the most upgraded part of the team is also the most important part of the team that needed to be upgraded: The pass rush.
Offensive tackle, corner, and linebacker were all huge needs for Oakland this offseason but none of them were bigger of a need or more important of a need than pass rush.
I know some will get upset at that idea. “But the Raiders had the worst secondary in all of football!” or “The Raiders haven’t had a real middle linebacker in who knows how long!” or “Did you see Marshall Newhouse last year? And we got worse at right tackle!!”
I understand and agree with all of those sentiments. But while they are all legitimate, there was no more important of a need than to upgrade the pass rush. Why? Because a great pass rush will make the secondary better, it will make the linebackers better and it will help erase mistakes made on offense.
This is why I and many others believe in building from the lines out. A great defensive line rotation will make everyone else on defense better and the Raiders look like they have what could be a great defensive line rotation.
The Raiders already had Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, Mario Edwards, Jr., Eddie Vanderdoes and Trayvon Hester. Now they’ve added Maurice Hurst, Arden Key and PJ Hall. With training camp still a ways away, you could already make a legitimate argument that Hurst and Key are already the third and fourth best players in the group after Irvin and Mack. That’s a huge upgrade and even bigger when you consider the impact of having a rotation that will keep everyone rested and energetic through the fourth quarter of games.
The Raiders didn’t fill every hole this offseason. There are still major question marks surrounding linebacker, right tackle and in the secondary, but if you were going to choose only one area to upgrade dramatically, the Raiders chose the right one.
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