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Breaking down Raiders’ defensive ends

What does the unit look like without David Irving?

Los Vegas Raiders v New York Jets
Clelin Ferrell
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive end group changed on Friday when the team made the surprising decision to release David Irving.

Irving was expected to make a strong push to make the roster. With him gone, there are currently six defensive ends who will either be on the 53-man roster or make a push to near a roster spot in Las Vegas. However, the Raiders likely won’t keep more than five defensive ends longterm.

Let’s look at the group:

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns
Yannick Ngakoue
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Yannick Ngakoue:
The Raiders hope he is the best player on the defense, that’s why thy signed him to a two-year, $26 million deal this offseason. The Raiders expect Ngakoue to dramatically improve their sack production. He has 45.5 sacks in five NFL seasons.

Clelin Ferrell:
The Raiders need to see more production from the No. 4 overall pick. Next spring, the Raiders will need to decide whether to give Ferrell his fifth-year option. If he doesn’t stack more strong games together, he may not get the option and become a free agent after the 2022 season.

Maxx Crosby:
Crosby may be on the field less this season and that could benefit him. He was overused last season and he wore down. A fresher Crosby could could leads to more sacks. I expect him to flourish with Ngakoue on the roster.

Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Carl Nassib
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Carl Nassib:
A disappointing 2020 free-agent addition, Nassib had just 2.5 sacks last season and was a healthy scratch in two games. Unless he has a major revival, this is likely his last season with the Raiders.

Malcolm Koonce:
The Raiders will give the third-round pick time to develop. He will likely be a bottom of the rotation player this season.

Matt Dickerson:
The free-agent addition will likely need to have a huge preseason and training camp to make the roster. The numbers game just isn’t in his favor.