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Raiders free agency wish list: Edge rusher

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Detroit Lions v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

For teams like the Raiders who could use some more pass rushers — what team can’t, really — the market should actually be pretty good. Here are the top names I see the Raiders looking at.

Ezekiel Ansah

Two of the past three seasons when the Lions have had questions, he’s been the Ansah. Last season he had 12.0 sacks in 14 games. Two seasons ago he had 14.5 sacks. And over five NFL seasons, he has averaged 9 sacks per season. On top of his pass rushing prowess, he’s also a very stout run defender, with 24 tackles against the run last season and just one missed tackle.

Shaquil Barrett

At times during the past three years, this former undrafted free agent has looked like he might take the next step and become a star pass rushing outside linebacker. He has never quite been able to do that, but he has 11.0 sacks over the past three seasons, including 4.0 last season. Though he doesn’t have the pass rush productivity in terms of sacks, he still gets a great deal of pressure. His 28 hurries and 42 pressures are third among all free agent pass rushers while his 20 run stops is second most.

Junior Galette

After double digit sacks in 2013 and 2014 for the Saints, he missed all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons with Achilles tears. He resurfaced in Washington where he appeared in all 16 games but with no starts and finished with just 3.0 sacks – his fewest for a full season in his career. His hits, hurries, and pressure numbers are still pretty good and it could be a classic ‘buy low’ situation. The 29-year-old was in the top five in all three statistics among free agent edge defenders. Where his issues lie are in run defense. In 135 run plays, he had just 11 tackles and 5 stops.

Alex Okafor

You will get some pass rush from Okafor – 18.0 sacks over the past four seasons -- but mostly what you’re going to get is some sure tackling. He has the second highest run stop percentage and the most run stops (21) of all free agent edge defenders according to Pro Football Focus. He has 29 tackles and no missed tackles.

Chris Smith

Was signed by the Bengals last offseason, receiving more snaps than he had in his first three seasons combined. As a result, he had his best season as a pro playing under Defensive Coordinator, Paul Guenther. It’s not a splashy signing, but I could see him joining Guenther in Oakland to try and continue his momentum.

Potential cut

Robert Quinn (Rams)

He too had 8.5 sacks last season. The 27-year-old saw his previous two seasons cut short by injuries. His 2016 season he was placed on injured reserve with a concussion, which is always a scary thing. But he played all last season without issue. His last two full seasons, he was a Pro Bowler including putting up an astounding 19.0 sacks in 2013 to be named All Pro. He would be the Rams highest paid player and cutting him would save about $11.5 million.

Shooting star

DeMarcus Lawrence

When you wish upon a staaaarrr… Arguably the top free agent on the market at any position. The 25-year-old going to get PAID after a season in which he put up 14.5 sacks. It didn’t entirely come out of nowhere either. He had 8.0 sacks two seasons ago. But this was his first as a 16-game starter and dude blossomed into a full-fledged super star. His 79 pressures is 25 more than the next most among free agent defensive ends. With the Raiders possibly prepared to make Khalil Mack the highest paid non-QB, they cannot plunk down the kind of scratch it would take to reel in this big fish.