clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mailbag: Which defensive tackles are on the hot seat heading into training camp?

Answering Raider Nation’s questions for the week

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers
Jerry Tillery
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders wrapped up Rookie Minicamp at the end of last week and OTAs start on Monday so we’re getting closer to training camp, so I got a few questions about position battles for this week’s mailbag. That should lead to some interesting storylines surrounding the Silver and Black, especially in the trenches.

Question: We drafted 2 more DTs this year and added 2 last year. 7 total on the roster. Anyone you think is on notice?

Answer: Honestly, the whole position group is kind of on the hot seat heading into training camp as no one’s spot is safe, even at the top of the depth chart. Defensive tackle is a position group for the Raiders that lacks top-end talent with the two projected starters being Jerry Tillery and Bilal Nichols.

I’d expect that to change pretty quickly as Tillery and Nichols are both pass-rushers who struggle against the run and the two defensive tackles that Las Vegas drafted, Byron Young and Nesta Jade Silvera, are run-stuffers. The two veteran’s contracts don’t carry that much dead cap either—less than $3.5 million each, according to Over The Cap—so one of them could easily be left off the 53-man roster.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Neil Farrell Jr’s seat is getting warm, too. While he was a fourth-round pick a year ago, it’s not a good sign that the Raiders drafted two more defensive tackles who share his specialty; run defense. Also, he seemed to fall out of favor with the coaching staff as he was a healthy scratch for a game due to what Josh McDaniels said was an “in-house matter that wasn’t football related”, per The Athletic’s Tashan Reed, and Farrell barely saw the field after Johnathan Hankins was traded.

Long story short, no defensive tackle on the roster should feel comfortable heading into training camp but the three whose seats might be the hottest are Tillery, Nichols and Farrell.

Q: Looking ahead to next year’s draft class, is there a prospect that USC quarterback Caleb Williams reminds you of?

A: I think Kyler Murray is a pretty good comparison for Williams. Both guys specialized in keeping plays alive, can run and make defenders miss in the open field, and throw on the run pretty well. I think Murray’s arm is a little stronger while Williams is closer to the prototypical NFL QB size, though he’s not exactly a big guy either as he’s currently listed at 6’1” and 220 pounds.

I don’t completely agree with the Patrick Mahomes comparisons that have been thrown around because Mahomes has the stronger arm and the Trojan is shifter in the open field. But I do see where people are coming from as far as the off-script plays and just overall play-making ability.

Williams is an exciting player to watch and it will be fun to break down his game this season.

Q: What do you make of Davante Adams’ comments about not seeing eye-to-eye with the team on the direction of the offense?

A: It definitely isn’t a good sign when the team’s superstar receiver—and arguably the best in the league—is publically saying that he doesn’t agree with the changes the front office has made during the offseason. However, in the full context of the article, Adams does say multiple times that he’s willing to make it work and wants to win with the Raiders, so I wouldn’t look too much into that specific quote.

Adams clearly isn’t happy with how the offseason has played out and it is interesting that he chose to air this out now, but it’s not like he’s asking for a trade or saying he wants out. In fact, he literally said the opposite, and I don’t think he’s the type of guy who turns into a diva and quits on the team or anything like that.

Again, not a good sign but nothing I’d be too concerned about.