The strength of the defense for the Raiders is their pass rush. They have two of the best pure pass-rushers in the NFL heading into the season. But how does the entire defensive line compare to the rest of the league?
In a recent article by Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus, he ranked all of the defensive lines heading into the 2022 season. The Raiders did not rank well, coming in at No. 19. Here is what Linsey had to say about the unit going into the season:
“Maxx Crosby made his push for the NFL’s elite edge rusher tier with a breakout third season out of Eastern Michigan in 2021. His 91.9 PFF pass-rushing grade last season trailed only Myles Garrett at the position, and no defender recorded more quarterback pressures than Crosby did over the course of the regular season. He’ll be joined next season by one of the premier sack artists in the league over the past decade — Chandler Jones.
The only thing holding the Raiders down in these rankings is one of the weaker interior defensive lines in the NFL. Bilal Nichols is the defensive tackle on the Raiders roster with the highest 2021 PFF grade at just 61.3 overall.”
As good as Crosby and Jones are, the interior defensive line could be a problem for the Raiders. The team is hoping that Nichols makes a big leap in Patrick Graham’s defense, but he is still somewhat unproven.
Keep an eye on two rookies in Matthew Butler and Neil Ferrell Jr. as they could play a ton of snaps this season. If they are able to add quality depth to the defensive line, the Raiders could drastically outperform this ranking in 2022.