The Oakland Raiders barely did anything to upgrade the defense in free agency this offseason. Their lone signing on the defensive side of the ball was linebacker Jelani Jenkins who didn’t make it past the 53 man cut deadline. It’s not surprise then, that the Raiders drafted mostly defensive players in the NFL Draft, spending six of their nine picks on that side of the ball including their first two picks.
And after week one of the regular season, the draft strategy is already paying off, but not the way many would have imagined. The Raiders are coming off of a big win on the road against a good Tennessee Titans team and a win in which the defense played far better than anyone expected it would. And yet neither Gareon Conley nor Obi Melifonwu played in the game. Instead, it was another rookie, Eddie Vanderdoes, who represented a big time upgrade for the Raiders defense.
It’s a small sample size, but after only one game. Eddie Vanderdoes already looks like an elite talent.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Pro Football Focus who graded him as the third highest interior pass rusher in week one of the NFL:
Don’t believe Pro Football Focus? Have a look for yourself:
And another one….
And another one…
I mean, who woulda thought Eddie Vanderdoes would have me out here recapping the game like I’m DJ Khalid?
With 37 plays, Eddie Vanderdoes played 58% of the defensive snaps for the Raiders, more than any defensive lineman not named Khalil Mack (Still don’t know if I should call Mack a DE or a LB or just MACK DA GAWD, but I digress).
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