The Las Vegas Raiders were one of the worst pass-rushing teams in the NFL last season despite having two highly-paid defensive ends in Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. The team decided to add a big piece to their pass rush when they used the No. 7 pick on Tyree Wilson. He should immediately help the team’s depth at pass rusher.
However, Crosby is still the only proven pass rusher on the Raiders’ defensive line. Jones is one of the best pass rushers of the last decade but only had 4.5 sacks in 15 games last season. Wilson was a good pass rusher in college but is expected to take some time to get up to speed in the NFL. If the Raiders want to double down on pass rush, there’s an appealing player in free agency. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes Las Vegas should sign former Los Angeles Rams defensive end Leonard Floyd:
Leonard Floyd, who logged nine sacks and 31 quarterback pressures with the Los Angeles Rams last season, would be a logical free-agent target. He’s on the older side, like Jones, but can still get it done as a pressure man.
Adding a player like Jones would allow Las Vegas to field a quality four-man edge-rushing rotation, which would help tremendously while Wilson recovers from his foot injury and gets acclimated to the NFL.
Floyd Would Be Smart Addition
Floyd is getting older and will be turning 31 early in the season. However, he hasn’t missed a game since 2017. He has been extremely durable throughout his career. He also hasn’t shown major signs of slowing down. He has had at least 9.0 sacks in each of the last three seasons. He has been a major beneficiary of playing next to Aaron Donald but he has made the most of the snaps he has played with him.
If the Raiders signed him, they wouldn’t need him to do much of the dirty work. He’d be a rotational pass rusher behind Crosby and Jones. He’d likely start out ahead of Wilson. Now, Floyd may want to go somewhere he can be a clear-cut starter. With the Raiders, he wouldn’t start. If he’s looking to play a specific role that won’t require as much from him and he’s not looking for a huge payday, Las Vegas makes a lot of sense for him.
Raiders Need to Have a Dominant Pass Rush in 2023
The Raiders decided to forego adding a cornerback or linebacker early in the draft despite both positions being bigger needs than defensive line. Las Vegas clearly believes that a great defense is built from front to back. If the team is going to improve on defense this year, it will have to be due to the defensive line.
The Raiders simply don’t have the talent in the secondary or linebacker to field a top defense. However, they do have the talent on the defensive line to get pressure on the quarterback. Crosby is one of the best players in the NFL and Jones could still have some juice left in the tank. If Wilson comes along quickly as a rookie, the Raiders could have an excellent pass rush rotation. Las Vegas needs a lot of things to go right but it’s possible the pass rush will be improved in a major way in 2023.