The Las Vegas Raiders are going to need to take a massive leap defensively if they hope to compete with the AFC West and the rest of the NFL during the 2023 season.
The Raiders offense has generally performed well over the past couple of seasons, but their defense is another story as it has been one of the worst units in the league. Outside of Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas doesn’t have many true impact players though Patrick Graham is surely hoping that some of the young talent on the roster is able to make a leap.
The middle of the field is an area of concern for the Raiders after Denzel Perryman wasn’t brought back. The team will likely look to Divine Deablo to step up and assume Perryman’s role as one of the leaders on defense, though he remains largely unproven heading into his third year.
With linebacker a clear area of need, the Raiders went out and signed free agent Darius Harris via Mike Garafolo of NFL Network:
The #Raiders are signing former #Chiefs LB Darius Harris, his agent Kevin Conner of @UniSportsMgmt confirmed. Harris, who spent four years with KC, played all 17 games last season with four starts, including one against Vegas in which he had 10 tackles and a sack.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 1, 2023
Harris has come a long way since signing with the Kansas City Chiefs after going undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. The linebacker didn’t appear in his rookie season, though steadily started to see snaps before breaking out in 2022.
The Middle Tennessee product had a productive year last season, recording 43 combined tackles to go along with one-and-a-half sacks. While he failed to produce much in the postseason, he’s still a worthwhile flier for the Silver and Black at this point of training camp.
Harris could very well earn a starting role at the beginning of the year considering the team’s depth, but they’ll need more than just him to affect games if they hope to make a run at a playoff spot.
Michael Irvin believes Derek Carr wasn’t problem with Raiders
It was apparent that the Raiders were in for a massive change this offseason when their relationship with Derek Carr deteriorated following the decision to bench him. While Carr drew most of the flak for Las Vegas’ struggles, people like Michael Irvin came to his defense in the offseason and said that he wasn’t the problem for the Raiders.