Raiders: Ranking the top 5 defensive linemen in franchise history

Raiders (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Raiders (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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Raiders (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders’ franchise has had some impressive defensive linemen play for the team.

The Las Vegas Raiders‘ franchise originally formed all the way back in 1959. Over the past 61 years, the organization has seen countless great athletes walk through their doors and suit up in their uniform.

As we continue to rank the top five players at each position (click here for rankings at quarterback, running back, receiver, offensive line, and defensive back), the time has come to rank another critically important unit — the defensive line.

This top-five list incorporates both defensive ends and interior defensive lineman. Where do your favorite Raiders check-in? Let’s find out!

5. Tommy Kelly, DT, Raiders

Tommy Kelly earns the first spot on our list due to his combination of longevity and production. Other players like Derrick Burgess, Warren Sapp, and Richard Seymour were extremely productive with the Raiders.

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However, they were only able to record a few short seasons with the franchise. Conversely, players like Lance Johnstone and Scott Davis all played for the team for several years yet lacked consistent production.

Anthony Smith has an excellent resume, but his off-field issues are so concerning that I’d rather refrain from including him amongst Raider greats.

Kelly was as consistent as they come during his 2004-2012 stint in Oakland. The undrafted rookie earned a shot to compete for a spot on the roster and managed to carve out a great career.

His 34.5 career sacks are eighth in team history and the third most for an interior defensive lineman. His 58 QB hits are also second only to Khalil Mack.

The 6-foot-6 lineman was never heralded as a Pro Bowler or All-Pro. However, he was a reliable run-stopper and gap-filler for nearly a decade. His longevity gives him the edge.