Starters: Mario Edwards Jr, Denico Autry
Depth: Jihad Ward, Branden Jackson, Eddie Vanderdoes, Treyvon Hester, Chris Casher, Fadol Brown
Additions: Eddie Vanderdoes (D-3), Treyvon Hester (D-7)
Mario Edwards Jr returns after being out with a hip injury all but two games last season. Without him, the Raiders were missing any semblance of an inside pass rush. It also meant rookie Jihad Ward started 13 games.
With Ward expected to miss the start of camp and perhaps a good portion of in recovery from offseason foot surgery, Autry will take first team reps along with Edwards. If the undrafted Autry will have the opportunity to grab ahold of the starting job heading into the season. Ward would need to make big strides from his rookie season to actually earn the job.
Vanderdoes was the team’s third round pick and was reminiscent of the Edwards and Ward picks the past two years. The UCLA product was 5-star talent out of high school who underachieved and drew criticisms for his work ethic due to his weight shooting up to 340 pounds. But when he weight is down, he is a disruptor. The Raiders are hoping he can add some of the interior pass rush they were wholly lacking in 2016.
Branden Jackson spent time on the practice squad last season. Hester was one of the Raiders’ four 7th round picks while Chris Casher and Fadol Brown were priority undrafted free agent additions. They will battle for what could be one roster spot or a spot on the practice squad.
Condition: Touch and go
This seems like the perfect description. There are a lot of question marks in this group. The health of Edwards (neck and hip injuries first two seasons), the talent of Ward (zero sacks as rookie), the weight of Vanderdoes (he is down to 305, but can he keep it there?). Could go either way with any of these.
Editor’s note: I know some of you may be asking WHERE’S KHALIL MACK?? WHERE’S JUSTIN ELLIS?? YOU HACK, HOW DO YOU FORGET THOSE GUYS?? Ellis is among the nose tackles covered here and Mack will be covered soon along with the other edge rushers.
What condition do you think the Raiders DT/DE spot is in?
This poll is closed
Touch and go