In the weeks leading into organized team activities, the Oakland Raiders made several key additions by bringing aboard a handful of proven veterans. This has further beefed up the defensive side of the ball.
Among them was Derrick Johnson on a one-year deal after he was let go by the Kansas City Chiefs after 13 seasons. Head coach Jon Gruden has continued to speak highly of the 35-year-old’s addition, according to Ryan Lipton of Silver and Black Pride:
“We feel like we have solidified the middle of our defense big time,” Gruden told Raiders’ season ticket holders on Wednesday. “We added Derrick Johnson, the all-time leading tackler in Kansas City Chiefs history. He started every game for them last year, they were the division champions.”
The addition of Johnson brings much-needed stability in the middle of the front seven of the linebacking core. Although Johnson’s level of play has declined over the last couple of seasons as he recorded just 71 total tackles in 15 games played in 2017, he could still be a huge asset defensively for the Raiders next season.
Johnson is an established defensive star that has earned four Pro Bowl selections, a First-Team All-Pro nod, a Second-Team All-Pro selection, and is the Chiefs’ all-time leader with 1,151 total tackles. His performance on the field has dropped since he tore his Achilles for a second time back in Dec. 2016, which was just over two years after the first occurrence. However, the fact that he is another year removed from it could mean that he could be in store for a bounce-back campaign in 2018.
With the Raiders looking to depend greatly on Johnson, it could see him be a huge factor in pushing the team back into the playoff picture.