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Raiders 2023 preview: Marcus Epps easing into role

Free-agent safety is getting used to new squad

Las Vegas Raiders Introduce Free Agent Signings
Marcus Epps
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Safety Marcus Epps is one of the Las Vegas Raiders’ key defensive additions this offseason.

The former Philadelphia Eagles’ starter recently discussed his transition into the Raiders’ defense in the OTA sessions this spring. Epps, 27, is pleased with how it’s progressed.

“It hasn’t been difficult, really. I mean, for me, it’s just about being yourself,” Epps said. “Same thing I’ve been doing since college when I was voted captain and had to be a leader there. It’s just really the same thing I’ve been doing my whole career; just being me, and wherever that leads, that’s where it goes.

“I mean, it sounds like we’re doing a little bit of different things, but the best part about it is when you’re in league for a few years, there’s always carryover. There’s always things that maybe you’ve run in the past, but I’m really excited about where we are. I feel like the defense fits my skill set really well. So, I’m just happy to be here and try and just continue to progress and get better every day.”

Epps, who had 94 tackles in 2022, his first NFL season as a full-time starter, has been impressed by las Vegas defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and believes he’s a solid fit for the scheme.

“I mean, I always believe in my abilities and my skill set,” Epps said. “I feel like I could fit into any system from a skill set standpoint. And then from a complex standpoint, it’s just about making sure off the field, you’re putting the work in, putting the film study in, and getting in the playbook and making sure that you’re prepared each day.”

While the secondary is a work in progress and there will be a lot of competition at cornerback, Epps believes there is good potential for the unit.

“I feel pretty good about it. The best thing so far that I’ve seen is we’re young, but it’s a group of hungry guys,” Epps said. Guys that are putting the work in each day, getting extra work in. So, I feel pretty good about everybody’s skill set that we have in there. So, the biggest thing is just continuing to learn each other, continue to learn how each other plays out there on the field. So that, like I said, we can make sure that we’re communicating well, feeling each other out, and always on the same page back there.”

Epps, of course, left Philadelphia after its final-second defeat to his now-AFC West rival, the Kansas City Chiefs, in the Super Bowl. While he is no longer an Eagle, Epps said that defeat fuels in him in Las Vegas.

“It still stings. But I think in this league, no matter your success or failures, you got to bring that same energy to work every day,” Epps said. “If you want to succeed, especially in this league, it’s very competitive and no matter if you won or lost, you got to make sure you bring that same fire each day to continue to get better and to win.”

Now, he’ll be doing it as a Raider.