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Are the Las Vegas Raiders being overlooked? Veteran Gerald McCoy states the Raiders are going to “shock a lot of people” in 2021

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Henrique Bulio

The Las Vegas Raiders are not one of the favorites for the AFC West, but the team has enough talent to surprise anyone betting against them.

At least that's what Gerald McCoy believes.

The defensive tackle, recently signed by the Raiders following a year on the sidelines because of a quad injury, has stated that the team will catch a lot of people off guard as he recovers from surgery. While he's still unable to do 11-on-11 reps, he's helping young defensive players along the roster during camp.

What do the Raiders have to do to compete within the division?

Coincidentally, the biggest fix the Raiders need right now is in the pass rush, as their EDGE depth is weak. They need one of the young players to really step up in 2021, whether that's Maxx Crosby or former fourth-overall pick Clelin Ferrell.

The Raiders signed Yannick Ngakoue earlier this year to boost the pass rush, but Ngakoue alone won't make any miracles happen. They need another consistent threat through the EDGE and someone to pressure opposing quarterbacks from the inside. Quinton Jefferson, signed during free agency, is a solid veteran but he's also not close to being a star.

Las Vegas Raiders Training Camp
Las Vegas Raiders Training Camp

The Raiders don't have Patrick Mahomes or Justin Herbert under center, but this doesn't mean their offense can't be effective, especially after such a great 2020 season that Derek Carr produced. Las Vegas saw its offensive line dismantled by Gruden, so this could be a problem for the team.

Can Gerald McCoy return to his best form in Las Vegas?

McCoy has been one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL since he was the third-overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Even though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers weren't as strong as they are now over the last decade, he still made a name for himself with six straight Pro Bowl appearances (2012-17) and three All-Pro honors.

With 295 lbs and incredible athleticism for someone of his weight, McCoy amassed 59.5 sacks during his career. He was a threat both defending the run and pressuring quarterbacks on the interior, and it's a shame he doesn't have a ring.

In fact, because of the Buccaneers' weak teams over the last decade, McCoy never even played in a playoff game. He moved to the Carolina Panthers in 2019, but the team couldn't make it too far with Cam Newton hurt.

He signed with the Dallas Cowboys last season on a three-year deal, but never stepped onto the field because of a quad injury that would make him miss the 2020 season. He was then released with an injury settlement and signed with the Raiders a week ago.


Edited by Prem Deshpande

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