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Position group analysis: Defensive line

Sixth in a series analyzing Raiders position groups with a contingent of scouts and coaches in Indianapolis at the scouting combine:

Starters: RE Richard Seymour, DT Tommy Kelly, DT Gerard Warren, LE Greg Ellis. Backups_ DT Desmond Bryant, DE Greyson Gunheim, DT William Joseph, DE Jay Richardson, DE Matt Shaughnessy.

Review: As a group, was less effective than the sum of its parts. On one hand, the Raiders often played on the opposite side of the line and were among the league leaders in tackles for loss. Which was more than negated by the amount of rushing yardage they surrendered through either shabby tackling, poor gap control, or simply getting pushed around.

The Raiders thought enough of Seymour to make him their exclusive rights franchise free agent, guaranteeing him at least $12.398 million. He looked that good at times. Other times, he vanished for stretches. Although Kelly has his moments, he’s shown no sign he’ll ever be worth all the money they paid him the previous year to stay out of free agency. Warren has moments where he can’t be blocked and then . . . it’s been the story of his career at previous stops in Cleveland and Denver. Ellis, despite a balky knee, recorded seven sacks and proved to be an excellent free agent acquisition.

Third-round draft pick Matt Shaughnessy out of Wisconsin looked like a real find. He showed great range and passion, a good burst rushing the passer (four sacks) and was a sponge for everything Seymour and Ellis had to offer. Bryant, an undrafted free agent out of Harvard, was heavily involved in the defensive line rotation and produced far more than could have been expected after jumping from the Ivy League to the NFL.

Richardson, with three sacks, looks the part of a dominant lineman but plays that way too infrequently. Joseph has been on a yo-yo from being released, to being signed and then released again. Gunheim was a practice squad promotion for the second straight year.

Contract status: Nothing to worry about. Everything is within the Raiders control.

What’s next: Rumors continue of the Raiders wanting to off-load some players, particularly those with bloated contracts. Kelly and Warren would both qualify on that score, although, as noted before, these supposed fire-sales have been rumored every season and they never actually happen. The assumption here is that Trevor Scott will play linebacker based on the way he finished the 2009 season. That’s a good idea because it means more time for Shaughnessy, who will eventually push Ellis out of the starting lineup and off the roster. In the meantime, Ellis is good to have around.

The Raiders usually take a defensive lineman or two in the draft, and have scored big with the picks of Scott and Shaughnessy the past two years (it more than makes up for the Quinton Moses whiff).

Mike Waufle returns as defensive line coach. Waufle’s a big believer in leverage and position, two areas that if improved, could turn a talented front into a more productive one.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Jhill,

    Not here to argue about Barnes specifically. Just the concept that fixing the line through free agent castoffs as a strategy vs. building with top tier draft picks.

    We would never approach building the secondary that way. It has always been “preceived top tier free agents” or high round draft picks. This is my problem with Al Davis. It appears that he spends WAAYYY to much effort and resources in certain positions, while thinking the rest get by with castoffs.

    Seymour was only brought in when it was PAINFULLY obvious in the last week of training camp that the D-Line was woefully uncompetitive.

    I would like to see the Raiders go for a top tier O-Lineman or D-Lineman IN MULTIPLE YEARS!…..Lord knows we’ve done that for other positions

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Rumors continue of the Raiders wanting to off-load some players, particularly those with bloated contracts. Kelly and Warren would both qualify on that score, although, as noted before, these supposed fire-sales have been rumored every season and they never actually happen.
    =======================================================
    Al Davis jettisoned Terdell Sands last year. Hopefully Warren or Kelly make the list this year.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    And Terdell Sands is sitting home. Raiders gave him a lucrative contract…..

  • jhill

    So you would have preferred TO and Eugene at 7 instead of DHB and Barnes?

  • Nnamdi21

    CINCO!

  • jhill

    A guy that is “at times unblockable” does not need to be cut. fat 330lb guys are not going to be there on every play man. Our DTs are decent at worst. Lets get the other positions up to at least decent before we talk about these guys. Like Jerry said, our front 4 is talented, maybe Wauffle gets more production out of them.

  • RaiderLen

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 5:20 pm
    So you would have preferred TO and Eugene at 7 instead of DHB and Barnes?

    =====================================================
    I’d have preffered Monroe, and Matt Jones.

    If I had to choose a WR poison.

  • Nnamdi21

    1. I think now that Davis has his “elite” offensive weapons in Russell, DMC and Bey, it IS time to shore the lines.

    Don’t think it’ll happen but Mike Upauti is a mauler. Poor in some technique and holds to much, but man, this guy is one mean mother scratcher with a work ethic.

    I’d like to see him come in and mangle some people old school Raider style and gawd knows we could use some help on the right side.

  • Nnamdi21

    Greg Ellis limped along last year and was dinged. I’d be surprised to see him make final cuts and if he does, likely won’t make it 6 games in. He didn’t practice much at all the back half of the year due to injuries and face it, he’s gettin football old.

  • jhill

    Agreed Nnamdi. Which is why I wouldnt be surprised to see us go with Morgan at 8.

  • 504 Raider

    I’ve been reading the last post comments about our WR situation. Our receivers are bad because of Sanjay Lal. Period! That dude can’t coach Pop Warner let alone the NFL. I think Al likes him on staff because when the team does pre and post game meals, Lal can calculate the 18% tip in his head faster than DHB’s 40 time.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Jhill,

    I would have been fine with Higgins and Schilens on the outside and drafted Murphy. I thought the receivers and Russell played well at the end of that year. Better to build up the chemistry.

    Also, I don’t believe in drafting receivers, running backs or cornerbacks in the top 10 unless they are a real can’t miss. DHB did not meet those standards.

    As for Eugene Monroe. I would have been fine with that pick. He would have started 16 games for us at Right Tackle and would have been an upgrade over what we have now.

  • http://atm Raider O

    1- OT Okung, Williams, Davis, or Campbell ONLY!
    2- DT L Houston
    2- Trade up for ILB Spikes (trade 3rd & 5th)
    3- WR/ KR Jacoby Ford
    4- DE Austen Lane
    5- CB Walter Thurmond
    7- DT Demarcus Granger or FB

  • Nnamdi21

    I liked how Seymour rough punks up last year. He drew personal fouls, but didn’t let anyone walk over him.

    Hope he’s an inspiration for the rest of the D.

  • http://atm Raider O

    McCoy is not even 6’1 and his weight is 295!

    SUH will be the 1st DT off the Board!!

  • jhill

    Just a matter of time before Seymour is a full time DT.

  • 504 Raider

    Nnamdi21 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 5:30 pm
    1. I think now that Davis has his “elite” offensive weapons in Russell, DMC and Bey, it IS time to shore the lines.

    Don’t think it’ll happen but Mike Upauti is a mauler. Poor in some technique and holds to much, but man, this guy is one mean mother scratcher with a work ethic.

    ————————————————————————————————————–

    No disrespect Nnamdi21,

    But you kinda just described Mophandle.

  • Nnamdi21

    Chris Long, Vernon Ghoulston, Derrick Harvey, Lawrence Jackson, Kentwan Balmer, Tyson Jackson, Aaron Maybin.

    With the exception of Orakpo, who was a Pro Bowl alternate, most DE’s don’t have an impact and SEEM more prone to bust than would warrant that kind of cahs especially when the Raiders are finding guys in FA and later in the draft.

  • jhill

    I think Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison are in trouble. Howard already lost his job and they all but handed Morrison’s job to Ricky Brown.

  • Nnamdi21

    Rolando McClain would get a cheer from me on draft day, but not likely to happen.

    Never sure what Al’s gonna do so alot of this draft stuff is pointless.

    What makes sense and what we’d like aren’t usually on the table.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 5:45 pm
    Just a matter of time before Seymour is a full time DT.
    ======================================================
    Sounds good to me. Perhaps we move Seymour inside and cut Tommy Kelly. Draft Dan Williams and then have him rotate with Gerard Warren. Matt Shaughnessy take over full-time on the RDE with Ellis on the other side.

    Now we have a defensive line…with the other guys in rotation.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Either way….Tommy Kelly and Gerard Warren are not worth a combined $10 million per year

  • jhill

    TK was productive man. Even the stats say so.

  • Nnamdi21

    504 Raider Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 5:47 pm
    Nnamdi21 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 5:30 pm
    1. I think now that Davis has his “elite” offensive weapons in Russell, DMC and Bey, it IS time to shore the lines.

    Don’t think it’ll happen but Mike Upauti is a mauler. Poor in some technique and holds to much, but man, this guy is one mean mother scratcher with a work ethic.

    ————————————————————————————————————–

    No disrespect Nnamdi21,

    But you kinda just described Mophandle.

    ===========================

    lol! A 6-5, 325 lb mop handle! He’s one of the best guard prospects in years and his ceiling is unbelievable. Barely scratched his potential. This guy could be the next Alaln Faneca except bigger and with more upper body strength. If he’s there in the 2nd, it might be worth a shot and he might even be able to play DT!

    http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1137494?tag=untagged

  • SteveAlford21

    RE: Anyone who says to take Dez or ANY players other than an OT in the 1st round…

    Emmitt Smith. Troy Aikman.

    Smith is far from the greatest RB in NFL history. His stats are due to the Line behind which he played. Aikman didn’t “get old” and start getting concussions: his linemen started getting old and retiring/being traded/becoming FAs… letting Aikman get hit a lot more. Behind an average line, Aikman is an average QB and Smith is a pedestrian back. We don’t need “playmakers” as some of you keep saying… we need dominant players on the line who will make the rest of our offense look like superstars (some might already be, if given enough time for a play to develop).

    Using our 1st pick on anything other than OT doesn’t leave us with several more picks to use on the line… not the way you guys think. What we do with that 1st pick affects every pick thereafter. I’d rather have top OL prospects and miss out on Dez than get Dez and have lower-tier line prospects. We don’t have the luxury of taking a “playmaker” when we have a horrid line… not when there are four top-15 OTs… and then a huge talent dropoff after that, meaning that we won’t get an elite lineman if we pick anything else… we’ll be taking second-shelf whiskey and trying to make it Middletons. If you disagree, you don’t understand football. Games are won and lost in the trenches.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Jhill,

    According to TKs stats…that would make Morrison productive too. Right?

    Seymour inside with Williams…..now we can start talking about the D-Line

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Option 1 – If I ruled the world…..

    1. Draft Williams and either cut or restructure Warren

    Lineup: Ellis, Kelly, Williams, Seymour

    Option 2
    1. Draft Williams, move Seymour inside and start Shaughnessy outside

    Lineup: Ellis, Seymour, Williams, Shaughnessy

    Its about building inside-out fellas…..All this outside in has given us 7 years of the worst football in league history

  • RaiderRon

    Jhill,

    Where did the Raiders rank in rush D in 2009? I am having trouble finding it.

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  • buckeyeraider

    Steve,
    That is an excellent point about the Cowboys. Their “triplets” got all the glory, but Aikman, Smith and Irvin wouldn’t have been able to do what they did without that O-line. Their o-line back then with Larry Allen, Nate Newton and Erik “Big Cat” Williams was big, mean and nasty. They mauled people.
    You know what the scary thing is. Steve Wizniewski, the greatest o-lineman in recent Raiders history was almost a Cowpoke. Dallas drafted him with the first pick of Rd. 2. Al was able to swing a draft day trade.
    But you’re right, this draft has to be heavy on O-line early. And Al Davis has to know that.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 5:28 pm
    A guy that is “at times unblockable” does not need to be cut. fat 330lb guys are not going to be there on every play man. Our DTs are decent at worst. Lets get the other positions up to at least decent before we talk about these guys. Like Jerry said, our front 4 is talented, maybe Wauffle gets more production out of them.
    ======================================================
    Warren is unblockable at times on pass rush. His run stopping abilities are questionable. as is TKs. Our DT’s are serviceable on their best days…most of time they are non-factors….$10 million nonfactors.

    I will agree that Morrison has to go too. But not before the DTs. Inside-out.

    I still stand behind what I said earlier, although Priest got quite angry….

    Gerard Warren would not start on any other NFL team. Backup player….Tommy Kelly would not start with any other team at his current salary.

    I said that about Terdell Sands…who’s been out of the league since the Raiders rightly cut him…and I will believe that about the current crew.

    The Raiders DTs inspire nothing from the opposition and is at the root of this awful run defense.

    Kirk Morrison has to go too. Get a Barrett Ruud and we will have a work man that already knows the game. A rookie will flame out with our system and development program. Get me a vet at MLB that already knows how to play…then draft a kid that can be brought along.

  • buckeyeraider

    This draft seems to be deepest in area where the Raiders have the biggest needs. This draft seems unusually deep in offensive and defensive tackles. Maybe even a MLB like Spikes could drop to Rd 2, if the raiders do go Oline in the first.

  • ohioraider

    Two words that describe Al Davis’ stewardship of this team: Tommy Kelly. Want two more? Terdell Sands. What a dope.

  • raidertalk

    With the 39th Pick in the 2010 draft..the Raiders take
    MUARKICE POUNCEY, C, FLORIDA

  • buckeyeraider

    I think I would be inclined to leave Seymour at end to hold the edge. Maye shift him inside on obvious passing downs. As part of a nickle package. Bring in MM as a big nickle back/designated blitzer. Then shift Trevor Scott from his OLB position to Seymours DE spot.

  • buckeyeraider

    JHill,
    I agree with you. Our D tackles are far from perfect, but I don’t think they are the weakest link in the porous run D. That dishonor goes to Capt. Kirk and the rest of the LB corps that overpursue, don’t hold their gaps, and don’t always tackle like they should.

  • jhill

    According to TKs stats…that would make Morrison productive too. Right?

    ——————————————————-

    TK is making tackles at or near the LOS. He is not “pursuing” anyone.

  • RaiderRon

    JHill,

    Hey ol buddy, just curious where the Raiders have been ranking in the Rush D standings since ol TK has been manning the fort??

  • jhill

    The Raiders DTs inspire nothing from the opposition and is at the root of this awful run defense.

    ——————————————————

    I just don’t see how you say that. For example, Dallas had 190 yds rushing against us. 145 of those yds came on THREE PLAYS!

  • jhill

    Ron,

    Do we really have to play this game tonight? If you think TK stinks, feel free to say so and back it up with an argument.

  • RaiderDebo

    the 1st round the last few years, but let’s not re-write history.

    138.RaiderDebo Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 7:23 pm
    SteveAlford21 Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 5:35 pm
    RE: Anyone who says to take Dez or ANY players other than an OT in the 1st round…

    Emmitt Smith. Troy Aikman.

    Smith is far from the greatest RB in NFL history. His stats are due to the Line behind which he played. Aikman didn’t “get old” and start getting concussions: his linemen started getting old and retiring/being traded/becoming FAs… letting Aikman get hit a lot more. Behind an average line, Aikman is an average QB and Smith is a pedestrian back. We don’t need “playmakers” as some of you keep saying… we need dominant players on the line who will make the rest of our offense look like superstars (some might already be, if given enough time for a play to develop).

    Using our 1st pick on anything other than OT doesn’t leave us with several more picks to use on the line… not the way you guys think. What we do with that 1st pick affects every pick thereafter. I’d rather have top OL prospects and miss out on Dez than get Dez and have lower-tier line prospects. We don’t have the luxury of taking a “playmaker” when we have a horrid line… not when there are four top-15 OTs… and then a huge talent dropoff after that, meaning that we won’t get an elite lineman if we pick anything else… we’ll be taking second-shelf whiskey and trying to make it Middletons. If you disagree, you don’t understand football. Games are won and lost in the trenches.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Almost got away with it Steve. Forgot to mention The Playmaker though. Ever heard of a guy named Michael Irvin? Who is the Michael Irvin on our roster? Dez could be the guy.

  • Pingback: The RaiderCast | Position group analysis: Defensive line

  • jhill

    At least with our DTs, there are plays were you say they are unblockable, or Whoa I wish I saw more of that.

    Where are the plays from Morrison that make you say that? I do know that HE is the one CLEARLY out of position on those big plays were are talking about.

    NFL Network’s playbook show has CONSTANTLY highlighted Morrison’s errors. The Rice run early in the Baltimore game brought the comment “I just don’t know what Morrison was doing there” from Mayock. Trevor Scott meanwhile was praised for doing EXACTLY what he was supposed to do as a LB on the same play.

  • RaiderRon

    I wouldnt say TK “stinks”, I would lean more towards average AT BEST. He and Warren together add up to an avg to below avg tackle duo. Add to that piss poor safety and LB play and you have the Raider run D for the last 5 or 6 years.

  • jhill

    So instead of TK, we should have ?????

    And please don’t tell me about any fat 3-4 NTs.

  • priesttj

    SnB, I didn’t get angry I just told you, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about and yu don’t. You don’t kn ow what other teams would do with Warren.

    Just say you don’t like him and stop making wild inflamatory statements that you can’t prove. Warren is a good DT in our scheme you can talk to any D coach and he’ll tell you the same thing. I know because I have. You want make statements that are unsubstantiated juts like all the other idiots in here.

    Shut the hell up already If you know something it’s more than OK to say it or just say in your opinion. Stop stating crap as fact with no proof.

  • priesttj

    I can respect an opinion anyone can be wrong but you are way too presumptuous.

  • jhill

    BJ Raji’s 25 tackles and 1 sack with a huge contract over TK?

    How about Sedrick Ellis and his 35 tackles and 2 sacks?

    Who could we have signed instead of TK?

  • priesttj

    Our run D is spotty in some games we were dominant in others we were horrible. Still others average. But we at times have played the run very well.

    To sum it up we are UNDISCIPLINED!! period stopping the run is tackling and discipline. More than anything else. The 49ers have a very good NT and one 3tech in Smith but what they do is play with great discipline. Now they can’t cover worth a damn but they have a decent pass rush. We are more talented on defense than they are but at MLB we are undisciplined. and that will force others to be as well.

  • Raiders4eve

    Jhill

    Bro, stop your infatuation about TK, you never played DT in your life, you can watch the tape but do you really understand what is the problem with TK? Do you really think he is good based on stats? Come on bro, you a wise guy when it comes to many things, but on this topic you are way off. I hope you take this criticism lightly. Now, I want critic you without backing up what I am saying.

    Here is a quote from Sapp on why Kelly sucks

    “As for Tommy Kelly, he never played (tackle), he was at end. Then he had a knee injury, and I never had the chance to teach him the intricate parts of the three-technique. (He is) a 6-6, 330-pound country kid from Mississippi who is strong as all outdoors. Can he play the position? Yes. But there are certain things about (defensive tackle) … “If you (stand) too high, he’s going to get knocked around, and at 6-6, low man wins in the trenches, and once you get knocked around, you get a little apprehensive.”