One area the Las Vegas Raiders need the most help at is the defensive line. The 2020-2021 NFL season was a rough time for the Raiders pass rush. Las Vegas ended the 2020-2021 season ranked 29th in the NFL in sacks.
The Raiders ended with 21 total sacks during the 2020-2021 NFL season. With their lack of pash rushers, the Raiders secondary was left out to dry a lot. Las Vegas' defense gave up 28 total passing touchdowns against opposing quarterbacks.
There are a lot of talented defensive linemen in the 2021 NFL draft. The Las Vegas Raiders currently hold the 17th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. This could be where we see them addressing their struggles on the defensive front.
The Raiders will look at three defensive linemen that will make an immediate impact on their front seven. With the Raiders picking 17th in the first round, 49th in the second round, and the 81st pick in the third round they have a good opportunity to improve their weakness. Here are three options the Raiders have with those three picks.
2021 NFL Draft: Two primary positional needs for the Las Vegas Raiders on the defensive line
Primary Defensive Positional Needs
-- Interior Defensive Lineman
Round 1 (17th pick): Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan
Kwity Paye is a late bloomer when it comes to the EDGE positon. This gives him the potential to have a really high ceiling in the NFL in terms of development. Paye made a living at Michigan by utilizing his athletic ability to make big plays for the Wolverines defense.
One thing the Las Vegas Raiders will receive with Kwity Paye is heart. He will play every down like it is his last. Paye is mentally strong and has the drive to be the best in the NFL. If the Raiders want a leader on their defense and Kwity Paye is sitting there at 17, then he is a definite selection to be the defensive leader for Las Vegas.
Round 1 (17th pick): Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
Christian Barmore waited until the right moment to stand out to NFL scouts. His play in the national championship against the Ohio State Buckeyes was perfect. Barmore was unstoppable against the Buckeyes and single-handedly carried the Alabama's defensive front.
The only knocks on Christian Barmore are his lack of reps and pass rush moves. Both of these are fixable in time, and with Barmore's determination he will improve quickly. Christian Barmore's engine never shuts off and he showed that towards the end of his college career. He will be a great selection for the Raiders defensive front.
Round 1 (17th pick): Joseph Ossai, EDGE, Texas
Joseph Ossai gives the Las Vegas Raiders a utility EDGE threat on their defensive front. Ossai spent time playing on and off the ball at Texas. The former Texas Longhorns EDGE threat keeps his motor running and has not reached his full potential yet.
His ability to play on and off the line of scrimmage gives the Raiders the option of dropping him back in coverage if needed. Ossai is a natural on the edge and can make game-changing plays for the defense. If there is one coach that can bring out the best of Joseph Ossai, it is John Gruden.