Training camp is only days away for the Las Vegas Raiders but there are some big names still available in free agency. The team did a lot of work to retool their defensive line this offseason. While they signed several solid veterans like Quinton Jefferson and Solomon Thomas, the Raiders still don’t have a great interior pass rusher.
That’s a hole the team can still fill with a great player. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short has been cleared for football activity after undergoing shoulder surgery last season. Short has only played in five games over the last two seasons due to injury but was a Pro Bowler the last season he played in over 10 games.
Chris Roling of Bleacher Report believes that the defensive tackle best fits with the Raiders right now:
If Short checks out medically though, he’s got some amazing upside and projectable return on value for a team surely only giving him a prove-it deal laced with incentives. Short, 32, was quietly a disruptive interior presence for years, tallying 32.5 sacks over 99 games, including six or more in three consecutive seasons. For context, Short’s last big stint of playing time in 2018 saw him produce an 83.7 PFF grade.
A team like the Las Vegas Raiders, which has routinely failed to field a strong complementary defense opposite a strong offense, could use a disruptive, rotational burst up the middle.
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Short Would Be Excellent Fit if He Can Return to Form
Snagging a player like Short this late in the offseason could be a massive move for the Raiders. Yes, there are major question marks surrounding his health. He’s 32-years-old and coming off of a nasty injury. However, he’d be well worth the risk.
Over the years, Short has been one of the better pass-rushing defensive tackles in the NFL. In 2015, he notched 11 sacks in a single season. Now, that was a long time ago but even getting four or five sacks from a defensive tackle would be an upgrade for the Raiders. He also shouldn’t cost very much money right now. If Las Vegas truly is committed to fixing their pass rush, they should at least consider signing Short.
Geno Atkins Could Also Be a Fit
If the Raiders miss out on Short, there could be another option for them to look at. Eight-time Pro Bowler Geno Atkins was also just recently cleared to resume football activity after suffering an injury last season. He’s one of the best interior pass rushers in NFL history and could be looking at a Hall of Fame induction in his future. However, he’s still got more to give.
Atkins is 33-years-old so he’s likely past his prime but can still make a difference. He’s just a couple of years removed from a 10 sack season in 2018. If he signed with the Raiders, he could be strictly a situational pass rusher. Not having to worry about defending the run could make Atkins even more dangerous. Signing him would plug one of the Raiders’ biggest holes on defense.