This offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders have brought in several players who have experience with the new coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham comes from the Bill Belichick philosophy of defense that values versatility. The team has worked hard to fill the roster with players who can do more than one thing well.
Graham is likely to run a 3-4 base which will feature Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones rushing the quarterback as outside linebackers. However, the Raiders still need defensive ends. In terms of true defensive linemen, the team has mostly added players more equipped to play on the interior. Clelin Ferrell and Malcolm Koonce are the only other true defensive ends on the roster besides Jones and Crosby with actual game experience.
Koonce makes more sense as an outside linebacker in 3-4 sets so it’s unlikely he’ll put his hand in the dirt a lot. The plan is clearly to have bigger players along the defensive line in 3-4 sets but it would be wise for the team to find more edge-rushing talent in the event that Jones or Crosby have to take snaps or games off.
Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report named free agent veteran defensive end Trey Flowers as a fit for the Raiders.
“Ultimately, he’s a 29-year-old with proven production at an important position,” Ballentine wrote. “Given the chance to go to a new team and with the possibility that he has fully recovered from the knee and shoulder issues that ailed him last season, he could have a strong redeeming campaign in 2022.”
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Flowers Has Ties to Raiders Coaching Staff
Flowers with the New England Patriots from 2015 to 2018. He worked with current Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels that whole time and even had some overlap with Graham, who was the team’s linebackers coach during Flowers’ rookie season. He eventually followed former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to the Detroit Lions.
Flowers had a disappointing run with the Lions as he suffered multiple injuries that led to him only playing in a combined 14 games over the last two seasons. The Raiders would be the perfect team for him to get back on track with thanks to his familiarity with the system and coaching staff.
Flowers Could Be Smart Signing
The Raiders are likely done making big moves but they could sign Flowers on the cheap. He has an injury history and only has 3.5 combined sacks over the past two seasons. That said, he’s just 28-years-old and has played his best in the Patriots’ system. In seasons where he’s played more than seven games in a Patriots-style defense, he’s never had less than 6.5 sacks.
He’s not a Pro Bowl-level player but he could be a really solid rotational pass rusher the Raiders get on a bargain. Right now, Jones and Crosby are the only defensive lineman with the ability to consistently get after the quarterback. Flowers isn’t on their level but he’s more than capable of getting to the quarterback when healthy.