If the Raiders sign these two, it will massively upgrade the defense
Most of the big names in NFL Free Agency are already starting to come off of the board. Calais Campbell is expected to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tony Jefferson with the Baltimore Ravens. Those were two guys that many Oakland Raiders fans were hoping to see in Silver and Black next season. But while some of the bigger names are off of the board, the Raiders still have an opportunity to make big upgrades to their defense.
Specifically, if the Raiders sign free agent safety Micah Hyde and free agent defensive tackle Nick Fairley. These two are basically the 1b to the 1a of Jefferson and Campbell.
Hyde is similar to Jefferson in his versatility though Hyde is a little more athletic and a little less polished. He can play three different positions in the secondary, both safety spots and the slot corner. As it just so happens, the Raiders could use help at safety and slot corner. And while he was added to Green Bay after Reggie McKenzie‘s time there, most of the same people are in the building and McKenzie knows how they work and what kinds of players they like.
Hyde isn’t as well known as Jefferson in large part because he’s part of a secondary unit in Green Bay that’s full of talent. He’s been stuck behind Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett. The Packers would like to bring Hyde back but he understandably wants to find a place where he will be able to start. Oakland could be that place.
And then there’s Nick Fairley. The behemoth of a man had one of the best seasons of his career with 6.5 sacks while on a one year prove it deal with the Saints. Despite having “proved it” with a great season, he isn’t a hot target in free agency. That might be due to the fact that Fairley has, well, gotten rather large. I know, but large even for his frame. Some worry he’s carrying too much weight but despite those concerns, he had an outstanding year in 2016.
While he doesn’t have the versatility of a Calais Campbell, he does bring what the Raiders need most: Interior pass rush. With Fairley pushing the pocket from the inside, Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin will be able to eat on the outside. Even more so than Micah Hyde, Fairley is a guy who can instantly upgrade this defense and in a big way.
So fear not, Raider Nation. This Oakland team may no longer be big players in the market for big names, there is still a ton of talent still to be had and the Raiders still have a chance to massively upgrade the roster before the draft.
- March 9, 2021
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- james arcellana