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Going for 2: Interior Defensive Line edition

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NCAA Football: Indiana at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier, Cyril broke down the current group of interior defensive linemen on the Raiders roster. Now, let’s dive into a couple potential targets who could be added to the roster this offseason.

Paul Guenther values defensive linemen who can stop the run. New defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, on the other hand, likes a slippery 3-technique who shoots gaps in the passing game. While the Raiders could draft a stud defensive linemen in the first round, or manage to pry Chris Jones away from Kansas City, those are less than likely outcomes. Instead, the defensive linemen we’ll look at in this article are affordable options in free agency and the draft.

Shelby Harris - 2020 Free Agent

Stay with me here Raider Nation. Didn’t the Raiders bring back Benson Mayowa? That worked out well. The problem with Reggie McKenzie’s draft selections wasn’t their talent level, it was that they were often so far from finished products. Since being selected by the Raiders in the 2014 NFL Draft, Harris has continued to ascend as a player, putting together his best year in 2019.

On one play he’s shooting the gap and getting quick pressure. The next he’s winning with great hand fighting technique. The next play he’s bench pressing All Pro Guard Quenton Nelson into the backfield before disengaging to make a TFL. And the next play he’s hustling down the line of scrimmage and body slamming the ball carrier.

Harris has always been talented, but the previous staff failed to develop him. After spending a year on the Cowboys practice squad (receiving coaching from the current Raiders defensive line coach Rod Marinelli), Harris goes to Denver and puts up 5.5 sacks on only 50 percent of the defensive snaps. In 2019 he put up slightly better numbers and played himself into a nice contract. The familiarity with the organization and with Rod Marinelli makes this a match made in heaven. Oh, and if the Raiders sign Harris, they weaken the Broncos — thats the cherry on top.

Raequan Williams - 2020 Draft Pick

He’s not the darling of the draft cycle in 2020, but Williams is a guy you want on your defense. He puts his hard hat on, goes to work, and shows outstanding effort when he’s between the line. If Williams is sitting around in the third round, he should be close to the top of the Raiders board.

Williams has a very good anchor that allows him to play over the center and absorb double teams. He also shows the ability to use his hands to win leverage battles against blockers. He does a good job contorting his body and has the ankle and hip flexibility to flatten corners against guards in the pass or run game.

The best trait that Williams has, however, is a relentless pursuit of the football. Listed at 6-foot-3, 290 pounds with a 79 inch wingspan, Williams could meet the measurable numbers Mayock, Guenther, and Marinelli desire in a 3-technique. His production is among the best in this class, playing 49 games in his college career and making 51.5 impact plays (TFLs, sacks, passes defensed, forced fumbles)...thats over one a game.