Raiders’ ‘Most Dangerous’ Addition This Offseason Revealed

tom telesco

Getty Las Vegas Raiders GM Tom Telesco.

The Las Vegas Raiders had a relatively quiet free agency but did make one splash signing. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was one of the best free agents on the market and the team was quick to scoop him up.

According to Ryan Fowler of Bleacher Report, the signing of Wilkins was the “most dangerous” addition the team made this offseason.

“The Las Vegas Raiders signed Christian Wilkins to a four-year, $110 million contract this offseason, and for good reason,” Fowler wrote in a May 26 column.

“Wilkins cemented himself as one of the NFL’s most dominant interior pass-rushers by racking up a career-high 9.0 sacks last season with the Miami Dolphins. He will now pair with Maxx Crosby to form one of the league’s most feared tandems along the defensive front.”

One could argue that first-round pick Brock Bowers could be the most dangerous addition but Wilkins’ impact should be bigger in 2024. The Raiders haven’t had consistent play at defensive tackle for a long time. The team has really good defensive ends right now so having an elite interior pass rusher should make the entire group better. Las Vegas didn’t invest heavily in cornerbacks so they need the defensive line to be great or the defense could have issues this season.

Patrick Graham Talks Christian Wilkins

Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was the Miami Dolphins‘ defensive coordinator in 2019 when they drafted Wilkins in the first round. He’s seen firsthand how good the defensive tackle is and is excited about reuniting with him in Las Vegas.

“Christian, the good thing about that he’s been successful in this league in the past,” Graham said during his May 21 press conference. “I was fortunate to be there in Miami his rookie year and just to see the player he’s developed into is pretty awesome to see. And obviously, that’s another tool for us to use on defense that’s going to be positive for us in terms of, I think he’s someone that requires multiple hands on him – or let me say, more than two sets of hands on him.

“So that’s a positive right there. You’ve got him, you’ve got Maxx [Crosby], and then the other guys, John Jenkins, he’s tough to block one-on-one. It’s something that we preach with our defense. We can’t get blocked one-on-one, and the more guys that you have that can, you know, get that done and have production off of that, the better off we’ll be in terms of our pass defense, run defense altogether.”

What Las Vegas Raiders Need From Christian Wilkins

Wilkins is one of the highest-paid players on the Raiders going forward. The team is paying him to be an All-Pro-level player and that’s what they need him to be. Wilkins had a career-high 9.0 sacks last season and they’ll need him to build off of that.

The Raiders have All-Pro Maxx Crosby and emerging star Malcolm Koonce at defensive end so they should take a lot of focus off Wilkins at times. That’s likely why the team paid Wilkins so much. They now have multiple defensive linemen who could command double teams at any time, which should make the entire group better.

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