Oakland Raiders: Defensive Tackle Concerns Still Remain

The Oakland Raiders have probably had as good an off-season as any team in the league, and went some way to addressing their "line of scrimmage issues," as described by coach Tom Cable.

Though one position that remains a problem is defensive tackle.

The release of Gerard Warren was something that we knew would happen, and though many thought that the selection of Lamarr Houston in the second round of this year's draft would help address this issue, we were later told he would be playing at defensive end.

With Richard Seymour still listed at end, and Matt Shaugnessy playing well at that position too, the future at defensive end seems bright. But with tackle... not so good.

When you look at the defensive tackles on the Raiders roster, it clearly shows the importance that Oakland have put on this area in recent years.

Out of the four players likely to make the roster (you can pretty much count out Chris Cooper and Ryan Boschetti), three are undrafted free agents (Kelly, Bryant, Heard), and one was an unrestricted free agent signed from another team to a veteran minimum contract (Joseph).

That does not bode well for the middle of the line.

Now Tom cable did suggest he had a 'secret weapon' in the run defense, which many have presumed to be the 6'5", 355-pound Kellen Heard from Memphis. But any team that puts their hopes for run defense on an undrafted rookie is likely to get a rude awakening in the NFL.

Having drafted Rolando McLain at middle linebacker in the first round, you need to give him a line to play behind.  It seems a little like drafting a quarterback first overall and having no offensive line to protect him (don't get me started).

Whilst I am not writing Kellen Heard off, he is at best a gamble. Quite a good gamble actually, as it will cost just a minimum salary if he fails. But you don't base your run defense on a gamble.

I was pray...

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