Raiders Sign LaMarr Woodley, Grading the Move and What It Means for Oakland

The Oakland Raiders placed an emphasis on upgrading their defensive line on Thursday by inking a pair of veteran pass-rushers to two-year deals. Defensive end Justin Tuck was the first splash for the Raiders during free agency after a nightmarish first two days.

LaMarr Woodley was second to come aboard on a two-year deal worth a maximum of $12 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Woodley will replace the departed Lamarr Houston more so than Tuck because he’ll play Houston's right defensive end position.

Woodley was an outside linebacker in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 scheme, but the line between the two schemes has become much more blurred in recent years. Woodley will put his hand in the dirt, but there are few other differences between the two positions.

The signing gives the Raiders two pass-rushers who are superior to any pair they've had since 2006. Head coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver should be doing backflips as they finally have a couple of players who can get after the quarterback.

Despite a lack of talent over the past two seasons, the Raiders managed to improve from 30th to 16th in defensive sack percentage, from 4.5 to 6.5 percent. Having Woodley and Tuck should keep that trend going in the right direction.

When Woodley was healthy in 2013, he was one of the better pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebackers in the league. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Woodley had five sacks, eight hits and 24 hurries of quarterbacks on just 196 snaps last year. Only Jerry Hughes, Elvis Dumervil and Aldon Smith had a higher pass rush productivity rating.

In almost three times as many opportunities, Houston produced just six sacks, 16 quarterback hits and 41 hurries. On a per-snap basis, Houston was about half as productive as Woodley when rushing the passer.

Woodley isn’t as good against the run as Houston, whi...

About the Author