When the Raiders take the field on Sunday at Carolina to start the 2020 NFL season against the Panthers, they will be featuring a drastically reworked defense.
The unit, which the team committed to big in free agency and in the draft, will feature six new starters — defensive tackle Maliek Collins, linebackers Cory Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski and Raekwon McMillan and cornerbacks Travyon Mullen (who played a lot last year) and rookie Damon Arnette. Then there’s safety Johnathan Abram, who was hurt and lost for the season in Week 1 last year. The entire starting defense has changed from 2018.
The most exciting aspect, as pointed out by the Las Vegas Review Journal, is that this defense is young. The average age on the unit is 24. That’s a great sign for the future and most of these players are going to be around for a while.
There is big potential on this defense. There might be some growing pans but if second-year defense ends Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby continue to get better, the linebackers are the real deal and the secondary come together quickly this defense could be a huge factor in a Las Vegas turnaround.
In other Raiders’ news:
Mayock thoughts: The Athletic has a piece on Raiders’ general manager Mike Mayock talking about the Lynn Bowden trade.
Trent Brown is back: As expected, right tackle Trent Brown was at practice Monday and is on track to play Sunday.
Cut review: CBS Sports looks at the cuts of all 32 NFL teams.