Oakland Raiders: Predicting Each Defensive Starter for Raiders in 2012

The Oakland Raiders may not do much shuffling on the offensive side of the ball, but the 29th-ranked defense will be altered. 

Stanford Routt has already been released, and new GM Reggie McKenzie promises even more change. Of the 11 positions on defense, only two have unquestioned starters.

Had the Raiders been healthy, the starters at the end of the season would have been nearly identical to the starters in Week 1. The lone exception would be Aaron Curry starting over Quentin Groves. 

Since the Raiders will use both three-man and four-man fronts, we'll have to predict the starters for both schemes. 


RDE Matt Shaughnessy (4-3 only)

Last season, Shaughnessy was among the favorites during training camp to have a breakout, but he hurt his shoulder and missed 13 games. He'll return in 2012 and hope to revive the buzz he generated last offseason. Shaughnessy managed to record just one sack in three games in 2011 and will be ready to add to that total.

The introduction of the 3-4 will be very interesting for Shaughnessy, and his only scheme fit appears to be as an end in the 4-3.


LDE Lamarr Houston

Houston registered one sack in 13 games after registering five in his rookie campaign in 2010. He's stout against the run, but he can be neutralized when forced to rush the passer.

Houston's best opportunity to rush the passer comes from the defensive tackle position in the 4-3, but Richard Seymour will remain with the Raiders for at least another season. 

Houston is scheme diverse and should be able to translate into a nice 3-4 defensive end. Instead of coming off the field on passing downs like he has the past two seasons, Houston will stay on field.


DT Tommy Kelly

Kelly has been rumored to be on the chopping block, but he's a decent bet to return and should restr...

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