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Examining Raiders’ defensive tackle rotation

Life after Maurice Hurst at defensive tackle

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders
Johnathan Hankins
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the positions that has changed the most for the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason has been at defensive tackle.

The Raiders signed their defensive tackles, let Maliek Collins go to the Houston Texans in free agency and then last week, released 2018 fifth-round pick Maurice Hurst after three seasons in a mild surprise.

With all of the changes, let’s take a look at what to expect from the tackle rotation for Las Vegas in 2021.

Johnathan Hankins:
The Raiders re-signed Hankins in March and he is the anchor of the position. He takes up a lot of space and he is good against the run. Hankins is not a top player, but he is effective.

NFL: Super Bowl LIV-San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs
Solomon Thomas
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Solomon Thomas:
The Raiders are going to use the the No. 3 overall draft pick in the 2017 draft a lot. The are hoping he can stay healthy and improve after a lackluster start to his career with the San Francisco 49ers. He will likely be a top-of-the-rotation player for Las Vegas.

Quinton Jefferson:
The Raiders signed him in free agency and he can be a big part of the rotation. He is not quite an every-down type of player, but he is a good fit for Gus Bradley’s defense and he can give some juice as a second-rotation player.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders
Kendall Vickers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kendall Vickers:
Vickers played pretty well last season as a role player. He should make the roster again.

Darius Philon:
This is a wild card. Philon played for Bradley with the Chargers and showed a good pass-rush burst. He hasn’t played since 2018 ... but if he can shake off the rust, Philon might make an impact.

David Irving and Clelin Ferrell:
They both can move inside from defensive end and play tackle in some situations.

2021 Draft pick?
There isn’t much room, but the Raiders need to develop a defensive tackle and aren’t set up here for the future. So, don’t be surprised if they just a middle-round pick on a defensive tackle.