What the Raiders have: Beyond second-year man Tyler Brayton, not a heck of a lot. Brayton, who was one of two players Oakland selected in the first round of last year's draft, started all 16 games in what was a "baptism by fire" season so to speak. Brayton showed improvement as the season progressed and figures to do so again this season.
Oakland released Trace Armstrong and lost Lorenzo Bromell (New York Giants) to free agency. DeLawrence Grant went from starting on a Super Bowl team, and
playing pretty well, to being the Claude Reins of the
defensive line. Akbar Gbaja-Biamila made the roster as
an undrafted free agent. He's good to have for depth
purposes but not necessarily as a starter.
The Raiders figure to employ some 3-4 looks under new
defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Defensive tackle John Parrella is likely to play end in that setup at times.
Chris Cooper is also a player who is capable of
playing both end and tackle but has had more success
at the former spot.
What the Raiders might do: Whether Oakland lines up in
a 3-4, 4-3, 2-9, whatever; one aspect that is
glaringly missing is pass rush. Last year's ends were
also liabilities against the run.
Brayton figures to develop into a solid player but not necessarily one
of All-Pro material. Brayton is a lot like Seattle's Grant Wistrom in
that he hustles with nonstop intensity.
The fact remains that Oakland needs immediate help
here and will likely address it on Day One. As a
second or third round pick, Alabama's Antwan Odom,
LSU's Marquise Hill or Ohio State's Darrion Scott
could be available, especially if Oakland decides to
stockpile by trading out of its No. 2 overall spot.
Draft outlook: Defensive End
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