Raiders: Carl Nassib named ‘player to watch’ by Pro Football Focus

The Las Vegas Raiders signed veteran Carl Nassib to provide more depth to their defensive line and Pro Football Focus believes that he’s a player to watch in 2020.

The Las Vegas Raiders will enter the 2020 season with a renewed sense of optimism regarding their defense. After numerous high-profile additions in the offseason, the Raiders will sport a new-look defense next season.

And the hope is that it will be a significant improvement over what was a disappointing showing for the most part in 2019.

But we’re not here to talk about any of their big-name additions. Players like Cory Littleton and Damon Arnette will certainly help. Even the likes of Maliek Collins and Prince Amukamara will likely be counted on as starters.

But one free-agent pickup who has seemingly flown a little under the radar as of late is defensive end Carl Nassib.

Nassib was signed to a hefty three-year, $25 million contract in the offseason which is a sizable chunk of money for a player who won’t be expected to be a true starter. But that just goes to show how much the Raiders value him as a rotational depth piece.

And it seems as though the Raiders aren’t the only ones.

Pro Football Focus recently released their projected starting lineups for each of the 32 NFL teams and in that article, they named Nassib as the player to watch on the Raiders.

Nassib wasn’t listed as a starter — for obvious reasons — but expect him to play a key role as a rotational defensive lineman in 2020.

At 6-foot-7, 275 pounds, Nassib has the frame to play both inside and outside making him a valuable chess piece in defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s defense.

While nothing special as a pass-rusher, Nassib excels against the run where he earned an excellent 74.3 run-defense grade last season, per PFF. And although he isn’t a particularly flashy pass-rusher, he has managed to pick up 12.5 sacks over the past two seasons.

His high motor and relentless effort allow him to score coverage sacks even when he doesn’t directly beat his man off the snap. And it’s likely that very trait that convinced the Raiders to give him over $16 million guaranteed on his contract.

The Raiders struggled against the run last season and the hope is that the combination of upgrades at the linebacker position and the addition of a player like Nassib will go a long way towards fixing their issues.

Next: Raiders: Analyzing the 4 hardest games on the 2020 schedule

He may not be flashy, but look for Carl Nassib to establish a crucial role for himself in the Raiders’ defense before long.

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