The Oakland Raiders barely did anything to upgrade the defense in free agency this offseason. Their lone signing on the defensive side of the ball was linebacker Jelani Jenkins who didn’t make it past the 53 man cut deadline. It’s not surprise then, that the Raiders drafted mostly defensive players in the NFL Draft, spending six of their nine picks on that side of the ball including their first two picks.
And after week one of the regular season, the draft strategy is already paying off, but not the way many would have imagined. The Raiders are coming off of a big win on the road against a good Tennessee Titans team and a win in which the defense played far better than anyone expected it would. And yet neither Gareon Conley nor Obi Melifonwu played in the game. Instead, it was another rookie, Eddie Vanderdoes, who represented a big time upgrade for the Raiders defense.