Marshall Faulk (@marshallfaulk) October 29, 2014
This one took some thought. There are a lot of great Raiders from the past to choose from who would be much needed on this team. One could even just go back and choose the one guy who they think was the greatest Raider of all time at any position. That list would be too long to even mention a few without leaving out other deserving mentions. Here's my choice:
The career Raider was a violent pass rushing force in the 80's. Pass rush has been an area the Raiders have struggled for many years. Long was also a charismatic leader on one of the most dominating defenses in the NFL.
That dominating defense helped lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl in 1983 where they continued their domination over the Washington Redskins.
Long had 99 sacks over his 13-year Hall of Fame career. He was an 8-time Pro Bowl selection and 3-time 1st team All Pro.
Howie's son, Chris, was drafted back in 2008 but the Raiders had the fourth overall pick and Chris went with the second overall selection. He got off to a slow start in the sacks category but back in 2011, he matched his dad's career high with 13.0 sacks. Over seven seasons he has 50.5 sacks. He is also under contract with the Rams until 2016. He is currently on partial season injured reserve but will be back well before the Raiders face the Rams later this season.
The Raiders tried to pick up some pass rushers with credentials but they're past their prime and are unable to make a difference in this flailing 0-7 squad. Lamarr Woodley was ineffective in six games and is now on Injured reserve and Justin Tuck has been relegated to situational pass rusher.
Khalil Mack has been stepping up lately with some pass rush as well as being the best run stopping linebacker in the NFL, but he can't do it all himself and a rookie shouldn't be expected to carry that load as well as a leadership role.
Having a defensive end of the caliber of Howie Long may not be enough to make a lot of noise on this team this year, but it could be enough to turn a few of the closer losses into close wins. Like perhaps the Jets game in the opener or the Chargers game in week six.
Another Howie Long may never come along again, but next year the Raiders absolutely must try and find that kind of player. Most likely in the draft. Pass rush from the defensive end position is far too important to neglect as they have for several years.