Continuing the defense-first trend of early free agency, Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock adds another piece to address a need.
After an abysmal team sack total of 13 in 2018, there was a marked improvement in 2019 with a total of 32, good enough to finish tied for 24th in the league with, ironically, the Bears.
Fourth overall pick Clelin Ferrell improved throughout the season, particularly as a run defender. However, his sack total of 4.5 didn’t do much to quiet doubters who felt he was over-drafted, particularly with Kentucky standout Josh Allen (7th overall, 10.5 sacks) still available.
Fourth-round pick Maxx Crosby had a standout rookie campaign, finishing with 10 sacks. and figures to be a big part of the Raiders’ future plans.
While there was optimism that defensive end Arden Key would make a significant jump in year two, he was somewhat inconsistent before having his season end prematurely due to a broken foot suffered in Week 9.
After signing linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton and defensive tackle Maliek Collins, general manager Mike Mayock continued the defensive trend, signing edge defender Carl Nassib to a reported three-year, $25 million deal.
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Originally a third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2016, Nassib has spent the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has provided excellent depth as a rotational player and spot starter.
But having an intelligent young veteran with a high motor is a definite good get for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.
While the Raiders’ on-field plans for Nassib have not yet been outlined, his off-field knowledge could pay long-term financial dividends for his teammates, as demonstrated on HBO’s Hard Knocks as a member of the Browns in 2018.
Whatever the case may be, Raider Nation is getting quite a character.