Raiders Are Fit for 2 Former All-Pro Defenders, Says Analyst

Earl Thomas a fit with Giants following Xavier McKinney's injury

Getty FA Safety Earl Thomas

Based on the signings of Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley, it’s clear the Las Vegas Raiders know their defense needs to get better. Time will tell if either of those guys can give the team a boost but even if they do, Las Vegas might need even more help. As of right now, the play in the defensive backfield has been inconsistent, especially at safety.

Johnathan Abram has shown potential and while he’s made a lot of mistakes, the Raiders are going to keep him on the field. Erik Harris and Jeff Heath have played a lot of games but neither guy is a gamechanger. If Las Vegas is gunning for a third matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs, they need somebody who can at least stand a chance at slowing down Travis Kelce.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report believes that Earl Thomas could help the team:

Earl Thomas was released by the Baltimore Ravens for reasons that had much more to do with chemistry than performance.

The 31-year-old showed few signs of aging on the field with the Ravens and was consistent in coverage. His ability to play both strong and free safety alignments would make him the perfect third safety on the field if they want to go more toward playing Heath and get one of Harris and Abram off the field more.

Thomas has his problems off the field but he still can be a difference-maker on defense. There would be a certain level of risk if they signed him. However, they need to improve their pass defense if they want to contend for a Super Bowl. Thomas is probably the most talented player who isn’t currently on a team.


NBC Sports’ Peter King on Why Free Agent S Earl Thomas Remains Unsigned | The Rich Eisen ShowNBC Sports’ NFL Insider Peter King and Rich Eisen discuss why future Hall of Fame S Earl Thomas remains an unsigned free agent. Watch The Rich Eisen Show, an Emmy-nominated sports talk show, streaming live on NBC's Peacock and SiriusXM Ch. 211 Monday through Friday, noon–3 PM ET. Showcasing Rich Eisen’s uncanny ability to blend…2020-10-05T20:38:38Z

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Raiders Could Use Some Added Interior Pass Rush

If the Raiders were able to get after the quarterback more often, their secondary wouldn’t need to do as much. Despite the fact that pass rush is the biggest need for the defense, Ballentine thinks Marcell Dareus would be a fit:

Marcell Dareus isn’t the All-Pro he was in 2014, but he is just 30 years old and showed he can play reasonably well in the six games he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.

Dareus could be a useful run-stuffer to close out the season and potentially play a bigger role if he proves worthy come playoff time.

Perhaps if Dareus could return to his 2014 form when he had 10 sacks on the season, he could be an asset but he hasn’t gotten more than one sack in a season since 2017. The Raiders are 12th in the NFL in run defense and 28th in pass defense. A run-stuffer in the middle doesn’t help the team all that much right now. Dareus can probably still be a solid player for a team but the Raiders don’t have a need for him.


Raiders Need OL Help, as Well?

Ballentine also had another questionable suggestion. He believes the Raiders should go after former Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Cordy Glenn. Even with the team’s recent slew of injuries across their offensive line, they’ve still played really well. Plus, Trent Brown will more than likely be returning well before the playoffs.

The Raiders don’t need an offensive tackle right now. Perhaps if Brown is done for the year, then the team could make a call to a guy like Glenn but that doesn’t seem likely to happen right now.

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