One of the things the Las Vegas Raiders hoped to improve this season was their pass rush. Aside from Maxx Crosby, the team has been unable to generate consistent pressure on the quarterback, ranking 30th in the NFL in sacks last season.
The hope was that this year would see an improvement, but that hasn’t been the case. Veteran Chandler Jones remains away from the team right now and first-round pick Tyree Wilson has made little impact. As a team, the Raiders have just five sacks in three weeks, along with only 15 pressures, which ranks 31st. So the team has decided to make a move in hopes of getting a little boost.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Raiders are signing veteran pass rusher Malik Reed to the practice squad:
Veteran OLB Malik Reed is signing with the #Raiders practice squad, per source. Reed has 16 sacks in 59 career games (36 starts) with Denver and Pittsburgh.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 27, 2023
Reed spent last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers but was with the Denver Broncos for the first three years of his career where he had some success and started 34 of 45 games. 15 of his 16 career sacks came during his time in Denver and his best year came in 2020 where he finished with 53 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, eight sacks, and 17 quarterback hits.
The pass rusher spent training camp with the Miami Dolphins but failed to make the roster, but now he will have a chance to potentially contribute for a Raiders team in dire need of anyone who can get to the quarterback. Despite Crosby’s best efforts, the Raiders simply have been unable to consistently pressure the opposition which makes their defense that much more vulnerable.
Even though it is technically a practice squad deal, the rules have changed in recent years in terms of flexibility on the practice squad, and often times these types of deals are just a bridge to getting the player on the active roster. Whether that is the case for Reed remains to be seen, but he certainly fits a huge need for the Raiders.
It is also a return to a familiar area for Reed who played at the University of Nevada for four years. During his time with the Wolf Pack, he totaled 203 tackles, 22 sacks, and 38.5 tackles for loss to go along with 11 forced fumbles in his collegiate career. The Raiders would love to see similar production during his time in silver and black.