What Raiders Should Upgrade on Their Defensive Line

The Las Vegas Raiders could be faced with a choice on what position on the defensive line to prioritize

Recently, we went over why the defensive line is the No. 1 need for the Las Vegas Raiders heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.

A key question to go along with that, though, is what position on the D-line should take precedent if that is the route they go in.

No Raiders fan would likely be upset with either a defensive end or tackle, as long as they could improve the Raiders' lowly total of 21 sacks this season.

However, on the edge, the Raiders do have two potential cornerstones-- Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell.

Crosby has been the lone source of consistent sack production for the Raiders the last two seasons, totaling 17.

Ferrell on the other hand only has 6.5 sacks in his career so far, putting him in the cross-hairs of fans and analysts expecting more from the former fourth overall pick.

He was rated very highly this past season, however, raking as the 16th best edge defender by Pro Football Focus (PFF).

That kind of rating shows the impact that Ferrell has been able to make beyond the normal stats, so it could only be a matter of time before his production increases.

At tackle, there isn’t near as much optimism to be had.

Third-year tackle Maurice Hurst was rated well by PFF this season but hasn’t ever emerged as a consistent starter in his three-year career.

After him, no other Raiders tackle was rated as even being league average, with players like Johnathan Hankins and Maliek Collins being toward the bottom of the rankings.

It’s considering this that if they add to the defensive line, the Raiders should probably prioritize finding a consistent starting tackle.

Having a formidable inside presence could only make life easier for Ferrell and Crosby, and by extension the whole Raiders defense.

Christian Barmore of Alabama has already been mocked to the Raiders by multiple writers, and he’ll surely be a name to watch going forward. 

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