Raiders Top Five Opponents by Position: Defensive Tackle
Our last segment of the Raiders matchups this season is the interior defensive lineman, also known as the defensive tackles.
These men are known to be the strongest men on the defensive line and the biggest men on the field.
As we close out our top five defensive tackle matchups the Raiders will have this season, none of our top five players have opted out due to COVID-19.
These players will be a great matchup against the best pass-blocking offensive line of the Raiders.
At No. 5 is Kawann Short of the Carolina Panthers. Short suffered a shoulder injury in Week 2 of the 2019 season that required him to have surgery and sit out for the rest of the year. Short is among the best interior defenders in the league and is a veteran leader among the Panthers defense. His size and strength attracts double teams and allows other players on the Panthers to make plays. He might not have the stats, but watching his games, he sure brings a lot of attention.
At No. 4 is one of the league's strongest players, Vita Vea of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At 6-foot-4 and 347 pounds, Vea can penetrate through an offensive line if not double-teamed. In 2019, Vea recorded 22 tackles and three sacks. His presence upfront allowed teammate Shaquil Barrett to have 20 sacks, the most in the NFL. As he enters his third season in the league, Vea's potential is just starting to peak. The Raiders match up against him in Week 7 should determine how good the Raiders offensive line is.
A former San Francisco 49er, DeForest Buckner, sits at No. 3. Buckner was traded to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason for a first-round draft pick. Buckner's trade came in as a surprise this offseason, as he recorded 33 tackles and eight sacks, sixth-most by a defensive tackle in 2019. According to PFF, Buckner is graded at 81.4, the 11th-best defensive tackle in the league. A great addition to a Colts defense that is building a team in hopes of returning to the playoffs this season. The Raiders will host Buckner and the rest of the Colts in their Week 14 matchup in Las Vegas.
At No. 2, we have divisional rival Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs. Coming off a Super Bowl victory, Jones helped the Chiefs come on top against the 49ers. Throughout the 2019 season, Jones recorded 22 tackles, nine sacks, and one forced fumble. His nine sacks were the fourth-most by a defensive tackle. The Raiders have had a tough one against Jones, as he has recorded at least two tackles, one for a loss and one sack in every game he has played against the Raiders. The Raiders have improved on the offensive line and hope they can shut Jones down for this year's matchups in Weeks 5 and 11.
At the top of the list, we have Grady Jarrett of the Atlanta Falcons. Jarrett is graded as the fourth-best interior defensive lineman by PFF with a 90.1 mark. His 43 solo tackles were the fifth-most by any defensive tackle. His eight sacks were the sixth-most, and his two forced fumbles were the fourth-best. Ranking at the top of all categories as a defensive tackle shows how productive Jarrett is on defense. Jones will be impactful on any given day, but without a doubt, the Raiders can not let their guard down on Jarrett. The Raiders' match up against him in Atlanta in Week 12 will be a showdown.
Other notable defensive linemen that missed the cut were Linval Joseph of the Los Angeles Chargers and Sheldon Rankins of the New Orleans Saints.
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