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Dark Horse candidate Tank Carradine knows just what he needs to do to make his mark with Raiders

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San Francisco 49ers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With training camp finally beginning, players are gearing up for the intense competition that will unfold as players fight to secure a roster spot with Gruden’s Oakland Raiders. Dark horse candidates emerge as well. One such candidate is Cornelius “Tank” Carradine.

The 6′4″, 295 lb defensive end previously played on the 49ers. Due in part to an extensive injury history which plagued him throughout his career, Tank’s value in free agency was minimal despite his solid on-field production in 2017.

One thing that separates Tank and makes him a potential impact player is his scheme versatility. Tank’s combination of strength, size, and length has allowed him to play as a 3-4 defensive end, a 3-4 OLB, and finally as a 4-3 defensive end in 2017. Tank’s experience playing multiple positions across the defensive line makes him a natural fit in Guenther’s hybrid defensive fronts.

“[Tank’s] a good football player,” said Guenther. “Not only has he played multiple positions, but . . . he’s smart. He’s understanding our defense and all the different blitzes and the coverages and fronts that we’re running. He’s been a real good surprise for us.”

While he may be scheme versatile, Carradine lacks the agility and explosiveness necessary to be a disruptive pass rusher. This is reflected in his PFF pass rush grade of 71.8 which affirms my belief that he is fundamentally a run down player.

That isn’t necessarily an indictment on his value for the Raiders. As a rotation piece, his production in run defense will be one of the main reasons he hits the field. In 2017, Tank had a 6.1 run-stop percentage which was ranked 36th among NFL defensive ends. According to PFF, this was good for an 82.6 run defense grade which would be excellent for a rotation piece on our defensive line.

In order to mitigate this lack of pass rush ability, Guenther has emphasized matching Carradine up with tight ends and has had him playing some inside as well. Levi Damien asked Carradine what he needs to do to make his mark for the Raiders and he had a definitive response.

“Rushing inside,” Carradine said. “The coaches, I’m excited that they gave me the opportunity to be able to get down there and get on the guards and get some one-on-ones and be able to get to the quarterback. But that’s something that I felt like the 49ers didn’t really give me an opportunity to do. I’m excited that they gave me the opportunity to do that. I just gotta show what I do inside rushing.”

Despite being 29 years old, Carradine still has some room to improve as after a career year grade wise (78.1 overall). If Carradine can remain healthy and potentially improve upon his production from last year, the Raiders may have stolen a quality contributor in Carradine for a friendly 1-year, $1.25 million contract


Do you think that Tank Carradine will be a surprise impact player for the Oakland Raiders defense?

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