The Raiders shook up the NFL with Sunday's trade for Patriots' defensive lineman Richard Seymour. The five time Pro Bowler was the anchor of New England's defensive line and a key piece to the Pats' championship puzzle.
In trading away their first-round pick in 2011, the Raiders are banking that Seymour's arrival will signal a change in what has been one of the league's worst run defenses for the past seven seasons.
Jon Scott covers New England for the Patriots Insider, a member of the Scout.com network, and is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association of America. He offers his insight with a scouting report on Seymour:
Richard Seymour spent eight seasons in New England as the key component of their championship defenses. Because the Patriots run the 3-4 defense, Seymour's involvement at the point of attack on the end was crucial to stop opponent's running backs and free up linebackers for the pass rush.
Seymour was constantly double-teamed through the majority of his career. Though injuries slowed him down the past few seasons, he was still a major component of the team's defense when on the field His size and power were too dominating to leave him single blocked. And when teams doubled him, it forced offenses to adjust the way they attacked the Patriots front seven.
With both Seymour and Vince Wilfork in the middle teams had to use four to block two, it allowed other Patriots defenders to fill the gaps and make the plays. That's why you didn't see Seymour leading the stats for New England but Jerod Mayo and Tedy Bruschi did.
Despite being double teamed, Seymour was still able to apply pressure on the QB. At 29 years old (soon to be 30) Seymour has a few solid years left to his pro career.
The Patriots were tight up against the cap and by trading Seymour the team has an additional 3.6 million in space to re-sign some of their own. Vince Wilfork, Stephen Gostkowski, Jarvis Green and Logan Mankins are some of the top players signed only through 2009.
There's been some speculation Seymour might not report to the Raiders, though head coach Tom Cable said he wasn't aware of any complications in the deal and instead was looking forward to finally getting some help for Oakland's defense which went largely ignored when the team made its off season moves.
"I think (Seymour is) a guy that has proven for seven, eight years now that he's a terrific run player, can hold the point and separate, get off blocks and make tackles in doing so," Cable said. "I think that gives us a real key piece."
Where will Seymour, a star in New England's 3-4, play in Oakland's 4-3 schemes? According to Cable, he'll line up at right defensive end, replacing Trevor Scott who appeared to be the front-runner for the job before Sunday's trade. Seymour will also slide down and play tackle at times with the main emphasis on turning around a run defense that ranked 31st overall in 2008.
Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, who has been feeling the heat after signing a mega-million dollar deal a year ago, expects the Raiders to be vastly improved with Seymour on the line.
"I think it immediately upgrades you," Kelly said. "Big boy, you know, big-time defensive player, Pro Bowler. Any time you add a person like that, can play the run like that, rush the passer, can't do nothing but help the defensive line. He brings a lot of versatility to the defense."
S&BI's Michael Wagaman takes a look at how the Seymour move impacts Oakland's defense:
The Raiders hadn't done a single thing to improve their run defense until trading for Seymour, so this is a definite gold deal if for no other reason than that. That they had to give up a first-round pick in 2011 doesn't bother me because you'd like to hope that two years from now that pick won't be worth nearly what it's been in the past. Also, when you couple this with the Derrick Burgess trade, Oakland essentially gave up a first-round pick and Burgess to get Seymour and third- and fifth-round picks from the Pats. The key to making this work is getting Seymour to sign a new deal. I hope the Raiders did their homework. He's a free agent at the end of the year and unless Oakland's brass has already talked to Seymour's reps about working on a new contract, he could easily bolt in the off season. If that happens, the organization will have some major explaining to do. If they can get Seymour locked up long-term, however, the trade makes sense. He's a guy who can rush the passer, obviously, but his biggest upside is shutting down the run. Even at 29 years old, he's stronger than most defensive linemen and he is fundamentally rock solid. More importantly, this is a guy who can set the pace for the rest of the Raiders defensive linemen. Face it, if Oakland hadn't made this deal fans would have been staring at 16 straight games of opposing running backs barreling right through the heart of the D. That won't happen with Seymour on board.
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