The Las Vegas Raiders‘ defensive line was a major issue heading into the offseason and it’s clear the team knows it. They already splurged on a deal for Yannick Ngakoue and also signed former No. 3 overall pick Solomon Thomas. The team wasn’t done there.
Las Vegas announced that they are signing defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson.
Jefferson’s deal is for one year and can be worth up to $4 million, per Adam Caplan.
The veteran defensive tackle comes over from the Buffalo Bills after spending one season there. Prior to that, he spent four years with the Seattle Seahawks. Though he never played under new Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, he should be familiar with the kind of defense he runs due to their Seattle connections. Jefferson has notched 9.5 sacks over his last three seasons and should bring a nice push to the interior of Las Vegas’ defensive line.
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Raiders Defensive Line Getting Crowded
With Jefferson coming to town, the Raiders defensive line group is getting pretty crowded. They re-signed David Irving earlier in the offseason and have added three new players. Competition should be fierce among the defensive line.
Ngakoue and Johnathan Hankins pretty much have starting spots locked in. Clelin Ferrell will likely start at the other defensive end spot. That leaves the second defensive tackle spot as the biggest question mark. It will probably come between Irving, Thomas, Jefferson and Maurice Hurst. Hurst has been with the team for a while now and shown some really strong flashes. However, it seems like the Raiders only like to put him on the field during passing situations.
Thomas is a really talented athlete but he didn’t have much success with the San Francisco 49ers despite being such a high draft pick. Jefferson seems the most likely to start next to Hankins. He’s a solid veteran who does have success getting to the quarterback. What will put him over the edge is that he’s also a strong run defender.
Raiders Still Have Major Needs in Secondary
The primary focus the Raiders have shown this offseason is upgrading the defensive line. They haven’t added many players outside of the position group. The defensive line was a major issue for the team so it’s good that they address it. However, they have major needs in their defensive backfield.
The Raiders don’t have a capable starter at free safety yet. The draft doesn’t have many great safety prospects and the team has done a terrible job of drafting defensive backs for almost 20 years now. The next biggest priority for the team is to find a starting free safety. There are good options still available so the Raiders will likely address the position before free agency slows down.
The team would also be wise to sign a veteran cornerback. Las Vegas can’t solely rely on Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette and Amik Robertson. All three of those guys could develop into great players but the Raiders don’t know that for sure yet. A veteran cornerback needs to be high on the priorities list.