One of the Raiders' main issues last season was their inability to rush the passer. The team recorded only 25 sacks on the year, which was 4.5 more than J.J. Watt managed by himself. It goes without saying that if Oakland wants to improve its defense, it needs to start with pressure on the quarterback.
The bright spot is that Oakland's sack leader from last season, Lamarr Houston, is still on the team. However, the next four guys on that list- Matt Shaughnessy, Phillip Wheeler, Richard Seymour and Desmond Bryant- are gone. Tommy Kelly and his 1.5 sacks are also gone (as are his knucklehead offsides and personal foul penalties). Andre Carter recorded 2.5 sacks last year and he will ostensibly be a big part of the defensive end rotation, and Miles Burris who got 1.5 sacks should see more playing time as well.
The newcomers to the team who should have the opportunity to terrorize opposing backfields includes Jason Hunter (who hasn't made much impact the last few years but recorded five sacks for Detroit in 2009), Pat Sims (a monster at 335 lbs who isn't usually asked to rush the passer, but had 2.5 sacks in 2010), Vance Walker (a sparingly used tackle who still managed 3.5 sacks last year for Atlanta) and Kevin Burnett, a versatile linebacker who has five sacks in the last two years rushing from the OLB spot for Miami and recorded six sacks as a middle linebacker for San Diego in 2010. Sio Moore will also be getting after the quarterback on a regular basis from DE and OLB, and he amassed sixteen sacks in his college days at UConn. The Raiders also have a promising small-school defensive end, David Bass, who was a beast rusher during the East-West Shrine Game and could develop into something special.
So, Raider Nation, which player will lead the charge for sacks?