Raiders Top Five Opponents by Position: Defensive End

Jairo Alvarado

The Raiders matchups are starting to look more comfortable and easier by the day as players begin to opt-out of the 2020 NFL season, but they are still a handful of elite players that will face the Raiders this season.

After covering the top five inside and outside linebackers, we can finally start talking about the edge rushers on the defensive end.

The defensive ends bring a great combination of athleticism and technique. Bigger and taller than a linebacker, many of them have the versatility of strength and speed.

As we look into our top five defensive end matchups, these five players have not yet opted out.

At No.5 in our list is Chiefs Frank Clark. Clark was expected to be the impact player he was in Seattle when he recorded 10-plus sacks for three straight seasons before moving to the Chiefs. In 2019, Clark recorded eight sacks, two forced fumbles, and was part of the Super Bowl-winning team. He may be adapting to the AFC West, but once he does, expect him to have an impact on defense as he did with the Seahawks.

At No.4 is a divisional rival, and the first half of the Chargers edge rushers, Melvin Ingram III. Ingram finished the season with eight sacks and 36 solo tackles. His numbers may be low from previous seasons, and that’s because he finally has help on the other side with Joey Bosa. Ingram is familiar with the Raiders offense and will always be a playmaker on the Chargers defense.

At No.3 is Browns defensive end, and former No.1 overall draft pick Myles Garrett. After a breakout season in 2018, he took a step back in 2019, a huge step back. Garrett was suspended indefinitely after taking center stage in a brawl with Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. Before his suspension, he had already accumulated nine sacks. Based on his playing time, Garrett graded the second-best pass rusher and the 11th best-edge rusher. Back on the field for 2020, Garrett will be back for redemption as he signed an extension with the Browns during the offseason, proving that he is still the player they expect him to be.

On our list at No.2, we have another Saints player, Cameron Jordan. The 10th-best edge rusher, according to PFF. Jordan grades among all top ten edge rusher categories. In 2019, Jordan finished with the fourth-most sack by a defensive end with 16. Jordan’s athleticism can help him beat offensive lineman with his quickness or strength. He is a player the Raiders will need to hold down.

At the top of our list is the other half of the Chargers edge rushers Joey Bosa. The former AP Defensive Rookie of the Year is coming off the best season of his career. PFF has graded Bosa with a 90.3 pass-rush grade, third-best, and an 89.6 defensive grade, ranking him as the fifth-highest defensive end. In 2019, Bosa recorded 50 solo tackles, second-most among edge rushers, 12 sacks, and one forced fumble. His production on the field was recognized and earned his second Pro Bowl selection. In his two meetings with the Raiders, he recorded five tackles and one sack. The Raiders have done a great job on Bosa, but he should not be taken lightly, as he is coming to prove that with his new contract extension, he is worth every penny. 

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