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What condition Raiders position is in ahead of training camp: Defensive tackle

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We check on each Raiders position to give it a condition of either Strong, Stable, Unstable, Serious, or Critical.

Seattle Seahawks v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Starters: Justin Ellis, Mario Edwards Jr

Backups: Maurice Hurst, Frostee Rucker, Treyvon Hester, Eddie Vanderdoes, PJ Hall, Ahtyba Rubin, Shakir Soto

Yeah, Edwards is listed as the starter here. He’s been running with the first team throughout offseason practices. But he’s hanging on by a thin thread. This is the last chance for MEJ to prove he is worthy of a starting job. He has been in line for the job each of the past two seasons, but it hasn’t worked out. First it was an injury that had him out all but he final two games, and then last season a strong first quarter to the season had him disappear the rest of the way.

His starting job will be challenged by fifth round rookie Maurice Hurst; a top ten talent who fell in the draft due to concerns about his heart. Thus far Hurst is impressing the most, while fellow draft classmate (round two) PJ Hall looks like a project.

Veteran (35) Frostee Rucker was added recently to compete at that 3-tech spot as well.

Though they brought back Justin Ellis after a career year last season. He is expected to start at the nose tackle spot, but figures to rotate. With whom is another question. The same day they added Rucker, they also added 32-year-old Ahtyba Rubin to compete at that nose tackle spot. Both have a lot of starts under their belts.

Looking to battle back into the mix will be 2017 draft picks Vanderdoes (round three) and Hester (round seven). Hester has shown more promise, but Vanderdoes has the draft position, which often buys a player more time to develop. Though it didn’t do much for 2016 second round pick Jihad Ward who was traded to Dallas for WR/KR Ryan Switzer.

Condition: Unstable

Ellis was a questionable re-sign. He started off last season well, but faded down the stretch. He’s never offered any pass rush and is only marginal against the run. The Raiders are hoping Vanderdoes can recover from a torn ACL he suffered in the season finale to compete for playing time. If not then Rubin has a chance to step up. With the 3-tech it’s a numbers game. They hope to get something from Edwards in a contract year, spent two draft picks on interior pass rushers, and added Rucker. We’ll see if the odds are finally ever in their favor.


What condition do you think Raiders defensive tackle position is in?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    (132 votes)
  • 51%
    (656 votes)
  • 30%
    (386 votes)
  • 6%
    (87 votes)
  • 1%
    (21 votes)
1282 votes total Vote Now