Las Vegas has a solid — but not great great — group so far
The Las Vegas Raiders were active in free agency as they added several pieces, especially on the defensive line and at a couple of offensive skill positions.
While they will still likely add some pieces, the heavy lifting of free agency is over as we pivot to full-blown preparations for the NFL draft, which runs April 29-May 1.
I’m going to rank the Raiders’ free agent additions, in my opinion, based on how much I think they will help in the 2021 season:
He is Gladys Knight and the rest of the free agent class are the Pips. Ngakoue is, by far, the prize of this class. He should immediately increase pressure and help the team’s pass rush. This is the one true impact player in the group.
2. John Brown:
I like the fit because he can play the Nelson Agholor role. If he is as clutch and explosive as Agholor was in 2020, this will be a big hit signing. He is the top veteran presence on a young receiver group.
3. Kenyan Drake:
Look, Drake may be a luxury who cost too much money that could have gone to a need position. But with all that said, he will help the Raiders as a top backup for starting tailback Josh Jacobs and as a receiver out of the backfield.
4. Solomon Thomas:
Las Vegas doesn’t need Thomas to live up to being the No. 3 overall draft pick of the 2017 draft. It didn’t work out for Thomas with the San Francisco 49ers, but he can still be a productive rotational player for the Raiders. Don’t expect magic, but he can be a decent role player.
5. Willie Snead:
Snead is a bit like Drake, he wasn’t necessarily needed, but now that he is here — he will help. He is insurance and depth and will likely make his presence felt now and again.
6. Quinton Jefferson:
The defensive tackle is a scheme fit for new Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and he strengthens the depth on the line. He could help.
7. Darius Philon:
Philon was a strong interior pass rusher for Bradley with the Chargers in 2017 and 2018. He hasn’t played in the NFL since then, however. If he can knock off the rust, he can be an interesting player.
8. Nick Martin:
He’s not bad and he has started for four seasons at center. If Andre James can’t handle the job, Martin is a strong second option as a replacement for Rodney Hudson.
9. Matt Dickerson:
The pass rusher hasn’t played much and he is no sure thing to make the 53-man roster.