Last offseason, it seemed like the Raiders were going to be ok at defensive tackle. Or at very least, the need at the position hid behind other more obvious needs. But soon, the weaknesses at the position became apparent and the issues there continued throughout the season.
After a decent looking first season in Oakland, Dan Williams was buried behind Justin Ellis and now Williams is looking like a prime candidate to be cut while Ellis has never emerged as more than a rotational player.
The position absolutely must be addressed this offseason and that starts in free agency with these big fellas.
Brandon Williams, 28
The top defensive tackle out there, the Raiders should be able to get the 411 on Williams from Kelechi Osemele who played across from him for several seasons in Baltimore. Williams isn’t just a valuable free agent, he’s a game changer. The addition of this 6-1, 335-pound force would solidify the middle of the Raiders’ line for the next few years similar to that of his predecessor Haloti Ngata did over 9 years in Baltimore. Ngata made the Pro Bowl in his fourth season as the fulltime starter. Williams is entering his fourth season as a fulltime starter.
Dontari Poe, 27
He’s been up and down in his five seasons in the league as far as perception of his abilities. A so-so rookie season gave way to two straight Pro Bowls. Last season he caught a lot of flak, but much of it was unwarranted due to an overall struggling run defense in Kansas City.
Always a freakish athlete, the 6-3, 346-pounder is rarely overpowered inside. He draws and handles double teams well and in the right situation, can rush the passer quite well from the middle as evidenced by his 10.5 sacks between 2013-14. Not to mention signing him would yet again take a valuable trench player away from a division rival ala Rodney Hudson in 2015. And that always adds to a player’s value. Especially considering the Chiefs are the team standing in the way of the division crown.
Arrowhead Pride covers him well here
Johnathan Hankins, 25
Mainly a run stopper, Hankins has offered some pass rush at times as well, putting up 3.0 sacks, 10 QB hurries and 8 tackles for loss last season. And he’s still young – he will turn 25 this month. With the Giants going all out last offseason and then slapping the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul this offseason, re-signing Hankins may not be possible.