Draft outlook: Defensive End

This is one story in a series focusing on the NFL Draft as it pertains to the Oakland Raiders needs by position. Today, here's a look at defensive end: <BR><BR>

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.


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