The Las Vegas Raiders have almost completely overhauled the defensive line this offseason. The team has made several additions through free agency and the draft, and they aren’t done yet. Most of the additions have been at defensive tackle and there’s another one on the way.
Las Vegas announced that they’ve signed former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster.
The addition of Lancaster brings the tally up to eight defensive tackles on the team’s roster. The veteran entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent of the Packers. He spent the last four years with the team and started in 21 games. He’s not much of a pass rusher as he only has 1.5 career sacks but he’s been good enough to play a lot of snaps on a solid Packers defense. With the Raiders having so many defensive tackles, it could be tough for even a veteran like Lancaster to make the roster. The defensive line will certainly be one of the most interesting position groups to watch in training camp.
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Could Clelin Ferrell Change Positions?
The Raiders’ defensive line is getting crowded and there will be a lot of players who don’t make the active roster. Clelin Ferrell’s contract is guaranteed this season so he’s not getting cut. The former No. 4 overall draft pick has had a tough time carving out a role but perhaps new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham can finally unlock his potential.
With Las Vegas likely playing a lot of 3-4 sets on defense, perhaps Ferrell could see some time at outside linebacker. One person asked Vic Tafur of The Athletic if that was possible that Ferrell would make the transition but the insider shot down that notion.
“Ferrell may have a tough enough challenge winning a roster spot at defensive line, forget about changing positions,” Tafur wrote. “The new staff has said all the polite things, but they have no ties to Ferrell. Can he set the edge against the run from the outside in 4-3 sets? And occasionally move inside? Then he will have a role as a backup.”
Is Raiders’ Defense Good Enough to Compete in AFC?
The Raiders’ defense will look a lot different heading into the season. The group made strides under Gus Bradley last season after a decade of mediocrity. The defense will now be guided by Graham, who is considered one of the best young defensive minds in the NFL. The Raiders still have some holes on defense and the AFC is loaded with elite offenses.
Graham will have work cut out for him but he’s got some great pieces to work with. Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby will form arguably the NFL’s best pass-rushing duo. The defense also has a Pro Bowl linebacker in Denzel Perryman and an emerging safety in Trevon Moehrig. Cornerback is still a question mark but the Raiders will get after the quarterback next season. With the offense likely set to be one of the better ones in the league, the defense just needs to be pretty good to compete in the AFC.