As free agency begins to wind down for most teams, things are just getting started for the Oakland Raiders. In the past week, they’ve added an offensive lineman in Marshall Newhouse, and a wide receiver in Cordarrelle Patterson. Jared Cook, Zach Brown, and Dontari Poe are on their radar, and it looks like the Oakland Raiders are looking to add the finishing touches to their team. Should the Raiders sign Brown and Poe, their drafting options open up. At the very least, they should look at pass rusher, T.J. Watt.
The Oakland Raiders Should Draft T.J. Watt
The biggest problem with this draft pick is that nobody knows what defense the Oakland Raiders are going to run next year. T.J. Watt is big, strong, and fast, but he’s clearly better suited to stand up than to put a hand in the dirt. He wouldn’t really fit in a 4-3 defense.
Current defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. seemed to favor a 4-3, but that 4-3 was one of the worst in the league. They couldn’t get pressure, they couldn’t stop the run, and they got abused through the air.
The signing of assistant coach, John Pagano, clears things up. He’s a 3-4 guy, and looking at some of the tools that the Oakland Raiders have, they’d be much better off running a 3-4. Speaking of which…
He Al-Don It Again
The Aldon Smith signing was an interesting one for the Oakland Raiders. There was a point in time where Smith was one of the NFL’s best pass rushers, but his off the field shenanigans kept him exactly there, off the field. When the Raiders signed him, it was no-risk, all-reward, and it seemed like they had found a suitable partner for Khalil Mack.
He played in the first nine games of the 2015 season before being suspended. Since then, he’s been involved with a domestic call that we still don’t know anything about, and a drunk driving accident. Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders wanted to help the young man, but he just can’t seem to get out of his own way.
Bruce Irvin has been a good addition, but he hasn’t really taken advantage of the fact that he lines up on the same defense as an All-Pro pass rusher. The Oakland Raiders could really use another star rusher to come in, and not only improve the NFL’s worst pass rush, but take some pressure off of Mack. Enter T.J. Watt.
Who is T.J. Watt?
Without thinking about it too hard, it’s obvious that T.J. Watt wouldn’t be the first member of his family to play in the NFL. His brother, Derek Watt, is a fullback for the San Diego Chargers, and his other brother, J.J. Watt is okay too.
But make no mistake, the youngest Watt is his own man. At 6’4, 252 pounds, he’s an intimidating figure. Even scarier was his combine, that saw him destroy all of the drills. He ran a 4.69 40, and was a top performer in the vertical, broad jump, cone, and shuttle drills. He’s a large man with elite quickness, and an impressive NFL pedigree.
Play Like Clay
But while Watt isn’t the only member of his family in the NFL, it’s another legacy player that Watt looks like on the field. As a prospect and a player, Watt is almost identical to Clay Matthews. He’s a little bigger, and a little faster, but that’s about the only thing that separates them.
The Oakland Raiders need to do something about their pass rush, and if they can sign Poe and Brown, this might be what they need. T.J. Watt has a late first round grade, and the Raiders might just be able to grab the steal of the draft. Imagine Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin lining up on defense with a young Clay Matthews. Wouldn’t that be terrifying?
And who was it that drafted Clay Matthews? Who was the director of player personnel at the time? Oh yeah, Raiders general manager, Reggie McKenzie.