Oakland Raiders: A few free agents to target, one to take a hard pass on

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders looks on during warm ups prior to their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 1, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders looks on during warm ups prior to their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 1, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Oakland Raiders
JACKSONVILLE, FL – OCTOBER 21: Tyrann Mathieu #32 of the Houston Texans celebrates following a fumble recovery during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on October 21, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

Tyrann Mathieu (S)

The Honey Badger don’t care. At five-foot-nine, 190 pounds, Tyrann Mathieu isn’t the biggest guy on the field. But,he’s got plenty of quickness, has tremendous instincts, fantastic body control, and is a ferocious hitter.

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  • While maybe not the prototypical safety you’d design, Mathieu certainly plays like it. And he definitely plays larger than his actual size. Over his six years in the league, has proven that he’s a versatile defender and isn’t afraid to match up with anybody on the field.

    He’s put up some great numbers from his spot in the defensive backfield – 357 tackles (325 solo), 31 tackles for a loss, he has six sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 46 passes defensed, and 13 interceptions.

    At 26 years old, Mathieu is entering the prime of his career and has plenty of tread left in his tires. Playing on a one-year prove it deal in Houston, Mathieu has started all nine games this season, recording 52 tackles (44 solo), and three tackles for a loss. He’s also got a fumble recovery, five passes defensed, two sacks, and two interceptions.

    Mathieu is a presence in the defensive backfield and tends to make receivers nervous, given his reputation for some booming hits. But he’s a lot more than that. He’s solid in run support and does a great job of reacting to the play unfolding before him.

    It’s hard to imagine Houston not trying to make a play to keep him in a Texans uniform, but Gruden might be well served in trying to bring him in to shore up the back line of that defense.