Starters: Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin
Backups: James Cowser, Shilique Calhoun, Fadol Brown, Joby Saint Fleur
Free agents: None
Khalil Mack is the best in the business. The 2016 Defensive Player of the Year, perennial double digit sack master, and run stopper extraordinaire is the least of this team’s concerns. He is due for a big payday on an extension.
Irvin has played well over the past couple seasons in Oakland. He led the NFL with 6 forced fumbles in 2016 and matched a career high 8.0 sacks last season, along with a career high 58 combined tackles (38 solo), while adding another 4 forced fumbles.
Cowser is a former undrafted free agent entering his third NFL season. He has shown up well at times in limited duty, but has just 1.0 career sack to his credit.
Calhoun was the team’s 2016 third round selection. A productive college career didn’t translate to the NFL. He hasn’t been able to find a fit at either linebacker or defensive end. In two seasons, he has appeared in just 19 games with no starts with a half sack and 11 tackles in his career. Eleven tackles. In two seasons.
Fadol Brown was a 2017 undrafted rookie who spent the entire season on the practice squad. Joby Saint Fluer was signed to a futures deal last month.
Outside of Khalil Mack, there is a lot of uncertainty. Especially in light of Bruce Irvin recently saying he wasn’t sure he’d be back next season, reportedly due to the team asking if he would take a pay cut. Some day maybe Aldon Smith might be reinstated, but that’s barely even worth mentioning, especially considering every bit of news that comes out about him is bad news. Calhoun’s prospects aren’t looking promising, so barring a major improvement, he may not make it out of camp. If Irvin returns, they’re set at least as far as starters go. If not, there is at least a decent looking crop of potential free agents. Regardless, depth is an issue.
What condition do you think the Raiders edge rusher position is in?
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