Inside pass rush. That’s the rallying cry for the Raiders’ defense this offseason. And if they are to get some, this is the position it will come from.
There’s a simple statistic that shows just how poor the Raiders inside pass rush was last season. Of their league-worst 25 sacks, 18 of them came from their two starting edge rushers, Khalil Mack (11.0) and Bruce Irvin (7.0). That’s just 7.0 sacks from everyone else. That’s pathetic.
Add that they gave up the tenth most rushing yards and you have an even bigger problem. Adding one of these guys could help remedy these issues.
Calais Campbell, 30
Even before Bruce Irvin began his crusade to convince Campbell to come to Oakland, he was squarely on this list for the Raiders. This 6-8 (SIX EIGHT!!), 282-pounder is the ideal 3-4 defensive end, which would also make him a fit as a 3-tech DT. The Raiders like guys with the physical makeup of Campbell. They have spent their last two second round picks on them – Jihad Ward and Mario Edwards Jr.
This 2-time Pro Bowler is now 30, so he may only has a couple more years of high level play left in him, but right now he is on another level to Edwards and Ward; either of whom could learn a lot from sharing a position and a locker room with him. Not to mention Ward has shown exactly nothing and Edwards can’t stay healthy. Campbell, on the other hand, is as proven as they come and has been considerably reliable in his career, missing just five games over nine years in the NFL. In that time, he has put up 56.5 sacks. Since his second season, he has averaged over 7 sacks per season and has never had fewer than 5.0 in a season.
His price tag is said to be in the neighborhood of $12 million per season. If that’s true, it could be pushing it for the Raiders.
Chris Baker, 29
A slightly younger, less accomplished inside rusher, Baker has played his best football of late. After going undrafted in 2009, he played for two teams his first two seasons, and didn’t play in 2011 before catching on in Washington. Each season, he has seen more playing time and more starts, leading to better numbers. The last two seasons, he has appeared in all 32 games, starting 27 and putting up 10.5 sacks along with averaging over 50 tackles per season.
The 6-2, 298-pounder had 27 QB hits and 17 tackles for loss over the past two seasons to go along with his sack and tackle totals. He stands to be a far more affordable option than Campbell.
Jared Odrick, 29
Last offseason, this 6-5, 300-pounder was a hot commodity as a free agent from the Dolphins. The Jaguars were throwing money around willy nilly and scooped him up to one of their crazy contracts. Now a year later, they’re cutting and trading most of the players they had acquired over the past couple years because the team is still really bad and the contracts are even worse.
Odrick suffered an elbow injury that hampered him and he appeared in just 6 games. This after not having missed a game in five years. He can’t be judged on what he did in Jacksonville, really. Prior to his season there, he had put up some fairly steady numbers, having had around five sacks in four seasons as a defensive end before that. He also plays the run fairly well.