California defensive lineman Trevor Guyton hits the tackling dummy during the NFL Combine
Yet another position in which the Raiders have their starters but could use some depth and competition is defensive end. With the change to a 3-4 hybrid, they will also be looking to add some big ends with pass rush abilities.
Matt Shaughnessy is emerging as the Raiders' best pass rusher. The team also added Dave Tollefson recently. Lamarr Houston mans the other side of the line. He took a step back last season but he really looked impressive late in his rookie season. He is a solid 300 pounds and played defensive tackle in college which suggests he would be ideal for the scheme change.
Finding more players with the physical traits of Houston would provide much needed depth and possibly a rotational player if/when Shaughnessy is asked to line up at outside linebacker. Here are the most likely candidates to fill that role.
Trevor Guyton, California: Round 4
Right in the Raiders backyard, they are pretty familiar with what Guyton brings to the table. He is a big, thick defensive end who excels against the run. He didn't become a full time starter until his senior season in which he had 12 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. At 6-2, 283 pounds, he is well-anchored and wins leverage battles. He is also a smart player and a leader on the field.
Tyrone Crawford, Boise State: Round 5
To be honest, I don't see Crawford being available with the Raiders round five pick. He is projected to go anywhere from round four to round six so it is possible. And if he is here, it would be a fantastic pick. He is originally from Canada but attended Bakersfield College (CA) before transferring to Boise State. He has great size at 6-4, 285 and has growth potential. He played in every game as a junior and started his entire senior season. He had nearly identical tackle for loss (13.5) and sack (7 and 6.5) numbers as a junior and senior for the Broncos. He is hard worker in practice and a hard worker in games. He gets his tackles and sacks through his relentless effort.
Armond Armstead, USC: Round 6
He has more of a round seven grade but the Raiders don't have a round seven selection so if they want to ensure they get him, they need to use their round six pick on him. Otherwise they take their chances they can get him as an undrafted free agent.
The 6-4, 294 pounder has had a rough go of it at USC. He was a good looking prospect heading into last season when he suffered from chest pains in practice and was ruled out for the season. USC was hedging on whether he would play this season so he opted to declare for the draft. Armstead was named the starter at defensive tackle as a sophomore but broke his foot in camp and was out for the first five games of the season. By the time he returned, they switched him to end, He retained his starting defensive end position as a junior and put up 43 tackles with 6.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. His pro potential is based mostly on that one season as a starter.