The Oakland Raiders defensive tackle position was oft injured and underachieving last season, and will rely on rookies and other young players to turn the tide in 2017.
Oakland’s defense ranked No. 26 last year, had a lack of interior pressure, gave up 117.6 rushing yards per game (No. 23) while giving up 90 passing plays of 15 yards or more in 2016. With the secondary bolstered, the Raiders will need rookies to step up at defensive tackle in 2017 if they hope to go deep in the playoffs.
Here is a look at the players who will be vying for snaps at the defensive tackle rotation in 2017.
Raiders defensive tackle Justin Ellis started in combination with former fellow defensive tackle Dan Williams last season.
Ellis had a down year, according to Pro Football Focus’ player grades, with a rating of 47.5. A major decline compared to his first two seasons, 76.4 and 76.6 respectively.
However, Ellis will still have a role with the team. At the very least, he will make a major impact on first and second down and run heavy situations. Ellis has shown to have the size to stuff the run but doesn’t have the needed pass rush ability (zero career sacks) to keep him on the field for three downs.
Ellis could be upgraded if a player comes along with a better pass rush arsenal and a similar run-stuffing ability.
Overall, he is not a weakness nor a strength of Oakland’s front seven.