This is an all defense post, where I will explore getting some defensive free agents as well as drafting defense. I'll be using over the cap as my source, and according to them, Oakland has an estimated 60 million in cap space to use.
Free Agent Signings
Jairus Byrd- 5 years 43 million
I'll round it up to an average of 8 million per year, but keep in mind that money will more be back logged. Over the years, I expect the last couple years in the contract to be around 10 million, and the first 3 years to be about 7. But for the sake of this post, I will use averages just to make it easier.
I'd like to get Byrd because we would pair a ball hawking, playmaking FS next to Tyvon Branch. Getting turnovers is a must in the NFL.
This leaves us with 52 million to spend
Bent Grimes- 3 years, 25 millon
Another 8 million a year signing.
Grimes may be small, but he can jump high. He allowed ZERO TDs this year, and is a very tough CB who is a real good hitter too. I figure a 3 year deal and pairing him with Hayden and mentoring him will be a great thing to have.
44 million left to spend.
Linval Joseph- 4 years, 35 million
Almost 9 million per year.
Joseph would give us a NT we sorely need, and will allow Allen to fully employ his multiple defensive formations.
36 million to spend
Pats Sims- 3 years, 8 million
Average of 3 million per year.
Sims next to Joseph would be very ideal for us, as Sims displayed even some pass rush in the middle at his size, and has shown to have good range in the middle to make tackles. Two 330 lb. DTs in the middle, where one of them could rush the passer pretty well is excellent. He could also move out to 3-4 End if need be.
33 million to spend
Michael Bennett- 6 years, 65 million
About 11 million per year
The big free agent signing the Raiders will make, but he would likely be gone before they could sign him, as the Raiders would likely spend wisely in multiple positions. I know people here would want Hardy, but he would cost more most likely. I think the most likely event is that the Raiders sign Lamaar Houston instead of Bennett, Hardy, or Johnson. Maybe even Jared Allen.
This is the contract that will likely give us the most hurt. I think we would be better off signing Houston for 3 million a year less, and although some of you would scoff at the idea of signing someone not as good for 3 million a year less, it adds on over time, so we would probably save an estimate of 18 million in cap space if Houston were to sign here for 6 years.
But hell, I'll roll with this.
22 million to spend
Lets say 10 million will go to some depth. And that we will have 12 million to spend.
Now onto the draft, where I will not use trade downs:
1st Round: Jadeveon Clowney, DE or Anthony Barr, OLB
I said "or" because I don't know if Clowney will be at #5. For the sake of certainty I will go to Anthony Barr here, but if Clowney is here than I guess get him just for his talent alone.
Some people would rather have Mack, and that is fine. A knock on Barr is that all he does is use speed, but for me that is what is most impressive about him to me. He has only been an OLB for a couple years, so he is obviously not going to gather these pass rushing moves in that time. What impresses me is that just making plays with his speed alone. 20 tackles for loss, over 10 sacks. He improved a lot this year, and he was able to make plays just because of his own freakish athletic ability. He also has long arms, and is better in coverage than Mack. With coaching, the guy can be super dominant.
2nd Round: Telvin Smith, OLB
Let me explain.... Telvin SMith is only 218 pounds. Okay still didn't get the idea? Let me tell you a bit about the big nickel package.
The Big Nickel is a defensive package (and DA if I am not mistaken has used the nickel package for mostly), that instead of featuring a 3rd CB, it features a LB/Safety Tweener. A guy who is big, fast, and can cover.
This is where Telvin Smith comes in. Too small to be a LB, and too big to be a safety. Think of Adrian Wilson. Let me show you a video at least of what kind of player you should expect to be a part of this big nickel package:
FSU LB Telvin Smith Senior Season Highlights (via RayFoye Combo)
3rd Round- DaQuan Jones, DT
He is 6'3" 318 lbs. but has the ability to be a force in the middle, and be an important rotation piece for us. I think if he can drop another 10 pounds he could even rotate along the Ends too. Even be a 3-4 End.
I haven't looked at too many later round prospects thank to school giving me a bunch of homework on the weekend, so if you guys know anyone after the 3rd round you would like to take feel free.
I do like Preston Brown, MLB, in the 5th round though. 6'1" 262 lbs. Fast. Here is a video of him against Florida:
Preston Brown vs Florida (2013 Bowl) (via Adrian Ahufinger)
Employing with the Big Nickel defense:
Keep in mind the Big Nickel defense can employ 4-2-5, 3-3-5, and 2-4-5. As long as there are 5 DBs
On 4 levels of the defense.
Safeties Jairus Byrd, and Tyvon Branch
Short-Mid-Deep level defense:
Telvin Smith. This guy is the key, as he can move up to play a more LB role, or go into coverage and roam the field.
LBs: Barr/Roach, and Moore (Barr [but if not Barr than someone else], Burnett [if he signs], Roach, Moore in a 2-4-5 role)
CBs: Hayden, Grimes
DEs: Clowney or another free agent (Maybe even Barr if he gains 15 lbs.) , Sims, Joseph, Bennett
So this is the all defense strategy. Obviously this is not all was we want, but just wanted to explore going fully in one direction. WIth Telvin Smith, our defense will be fast and making plays all over the field, whether it be deep, middle, or short. The versatility of the big nickel defense is quite an awesome thing.
But I think the big nickel would be best served if we got Clowney instead of Barr. Telvin Smith is still good enough to at least, in the tweener role, play close enough as a LB.