Raider nation has heard about the team’s lack of a pass rush too many times to count in recent years. To fix that, the team has both signed players in free agency, and utilized the draft. Some moves have paid off, while others have done the exact opposite. Let’s take a look at the current edge rushing unit, and determine just how good they are.
The two starting edge rushers for Las Vegas are currently Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue. It is worth mentioning that the spot opposite of Ngakoue could be filled by Clelin Ferell instead. However, early in camp Clelin was running with the second unit. For the sake of this article, I’m going to claim Crosby is the starter.
We all know about Maxx Crosby right now. The former 5th round pick burst onto the scene in his rookie year. In his young career, Crosby has compiled 17 sacks already. Raiders fans should be very excited to see Crosby alongside an elite pass rusher in Ngakoue, who should help elevate him to another level.
Next, we have one of the biggest signings this offseason for Las Vegas. The Raiders and Ngakoue agreed to a two-year, $26 million deal. Ngakoue became a star with the Jaguars, and played in 15 games last year with the Vikings and Ravens.
He had a bit of a down year last year, for his standards of course, but still totaled 8 sacks with 4 forced fumbles. Yannick will bring both experience and talent to this young line unit, something that was definitely needed. Better yet, Ngakoue seems to love being a Raider.
The backups at this position as of now include Clelin Ferrell, Carl Nassib, Malcom Koonce, and Gerri Green.
With the addition of Ngakoue, Ferrell finds himself relegated to the backup unit. The Raiders’ used the 4th overall pick in 2019 on Ferrell, and while the young defender has been solid against the run, his pass-rushing skills have left a lot to be desired. Entering the third year of his career, Ferrell has a lot to prove.
Malcom Koonce out of the University of Buffalo was the first of two 3rd round selections in this year’s draft for the Raiders.
Koonce is perhaps one of the most exciting, and electric young players on this roster. He’s able to play both edge rusher and outside linebacker. Nassib is a depth piece, and his average salary is around $8 million. His play has not been nearly up to that, so he’s going to have to step it up this year.
Gerri Green is entering his third year in the league, after being drafted by the Colts in 2019. He’s bounced around practice squads throughout the league in his young career, but is looking to break camp on the 53-man roster for the first time this fall.
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