Raiders Tryout Former 1st Round Pick & Super Bowl Champion

danny shelton

Getty Danny Shelton tackling Joe Mixon.

Based on the first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Las Vegas Raiders defense appears to be in a solid place right now. The team only gave up 11 points in the win. Obviously, the Jaguars didn’t have many projected starters out there but it was a good start for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

However, there still could be some concern among the defensive line. The Raiders invested heavily in defensive linemen this offseason but Johnathan Hankins and Bilal Nichols are on the Physically Unable to Perform List and haven’t participated in a training camp practice. If they can return soon, then the Raiders are fine at defensive tackle. If not, the team could be in trouble. While the team continues to watch Hankins and Nichols, they’ve decided to bring in veteran nose tackle Danny Shelton for a tryout, per ESPN’s Field Yates.

Shelton will be very familiar with Graham’s defense as he played under the coach with the New York Giants last season. He also spent 2018 and 2019 with the New England Patriots, which runs a similar defense to Graham.

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Background on Shelton

Shelton first came into the NFL in 2015 as the No. 12 overall pick of the Cleveland Browns. He wasn’t able to live up to his draft status and was traded to the Patriots after three seasons. In his first season with the Patriots, he was part of the team that won the Super Bowl. He had his best year the following season in 2019 when he started 14 games and notched 3.0 sacks.

Shelton signed with the Giants last season where he was able to play under Graham. He wasn’t a starter and only had 0.5 sacks. However, Graham knows him well and Josh McDaniels should, as well. If they think he’s the right fit, he’ll likely get a chance to play with the Raiders.

Frank Okam Talks Defensive Line

The Raiders have two elite EDGE rushers in Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. The interior of the defensive line is much less proven when it comes to pass rushing. Nichols has the most pass rush juice but he’s injured right now. The Raiders hired a new defensive line coach in Frank Okam this offseason and perhaps his most important job is to get his defensive tackles to rush the passer.

Matthew Butler and Neil Farrell Jr. are rookies but could be the secret weapons for the Raiders’ interior pass rush. Okam had a chance to talk about the rookie defensive linemen.

“I think the most important thing is for them to get out there,” Okam said Monday. “When you’re going against your guys consistently in practice, it’s really good to go against another color to kind of really see where you are. The things that we’re trying to get them to do, can they apply it? Can they actually show up on tape? For them, I think it was a great learning experience. This is the physicality level. This is the pad level needed. These are the things that coaches are trying to tell me that I can actually see why they’re trying to drill that and instill that into me. It’ll allow them for the next game, hopefully, to take the next step.”

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