Despite the fact the Las Vegas Raiders have tried a number of things to improve their pass rush, the team still has trouble getting after the quarterback. They’re tied for the second least amount of sacks in the NFL this season with nine. Considering they used the fourth overall pick on a pass rusher in last year’s draft and spent a good chunk of money on pass rushers this past offseason, they know how important getting to the quarterback is.
The moves haven’t paid off so far and it seems like they’d like to add some help. According to Jerry McDonald, the Raiders put in a claim for recently released Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley.
Hearing #Raiders will make a claim on Takk McKinley. Their priority makes them a long shot with 5-3 record. Worst records first. Besides getting McKinley, he'd bring compensatory pick if he leaves. Salary just under 875K for rest of season.
— Jerry McDonald (@Jerrymcd) November 11, 2020
The former first-round pick had a falling out with the team that drafted him and it was best for the two sides to move on. The Raiders were apparently willing to take a shot on him but the Cincinnati Bengals ended up being the team that picked him up. They had higher priority on the waiver wire due to the fact that they have a worse record than the Raiders.
We've acquired DE @Takk McKinley on waivers from the Atlanta Falcons.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) November 11, 2020
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McKinley Would’ve Been an Interesting Fit
It’s a shame the Raiders never got a shot at McKinley because he would’ve made a lot of sense with the team. He was born in Oakland and raised in Northern California. He hasn’t necessarily lived up to his status as a first-round pick but his 17.5 career sacks in three and a half seasons could’ve given the Raiders a boost.
McKinley is still young and very athletic for a player of his size. Even though his production hasn’t been elite, he has potential. The Raiders don’t really have much of a pass rush so he would’ve been an intriguing guy to take a shot on. He’ll now head to the Bengals and should replace Carlos Dunlap.
Latest on David Irving
While the Raiders likely would’ve wanted to add McKinley, they already have a new defensive end in the building who has shown promise in the past. David Irving put up seven sacks in eight games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. Since then, he’s only played in two games and was out of the NFL last year. The Raiders brought him in but are taking their time getting him on the field.
“David [Irving] has been in and out. He’s had a couple of things that we’re getting squared away medically,” Jon Gruden said last week. “He’s going to be fine. We like where he is, getting acclimated to pro football. He’s still, I believe, a couple weeks off from making his debut, but we’re happy to have him here.”
Irving is a very interesting piece for the Raiders because he’s shown brief flashes of elite pass-rushing ability but never anything consistent. The fact that he hasn’t played in two years is concerning but Las Vegas needs to try whatever they can to get the pass rush going. If he can recapture the 2018 magic, the Raiders would be over the moon.