Raiders Sign Ex-Saints Starter & Former Dolphin

The Las Vegas Raiders may not be making many splash signings on defense this offseason but they have done a lot of retooling. The personnel should look quite different and the team figures to be poised to use a lot of draft picks to bolster the group. The Raiders were one of the worst pass rushing teams in the NFL last season and the defensive line should be a focal point in the draft.

In the meantime, Las Vegas is making moves to sure up the run defense. The Raiders announced the signing of veteran defensive tackle John Jenkins.

Signed, sealed and delivered 🙌

We have signed unrestricted free agent DT John Jenkins » https://t.co/4Kllepp0kx pic.twitter.com/0PAUPrakfg

— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) March 24, 2023

Jenkins has been in the NFL for a decade now after being a third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2013. He started 22 games across four seasons with the Saints before moving on to the Seattle Seahawks. He also spent seasons with Chicago Bears and New York Giants. He was most recently a member of the Miami Dolphins where he spent the last two seasons. Jenkins only has 2.5 sacks combined over his career so he’s not going to make an impact in the passing game. That said, he should be a solid addition in run defense. The Raiders lost Andrew Billings in free agency so Jenkins should replace him in the lineup.

Raiders Could Pass on Jalen Carter

Adding a pass rushing defensive tackle would give the Raiders’ defense a major boost. They haven’t had much of an interior pass rush for several years. When the draft process started, Georiga’s Jalen Carter was widely considered the best prospect in the entire class. He was a dominant force in college. However, some off-the-field and character issues have arisen in recent weeks, which culminated in a very disappointing showing at his pro day.

It is now possible that Carter will be available to the Raiders at pick No. 7. However, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal isn’t convinced that Las Vegas would take the star defensive lineman if he was available:

The Carter situation is multi-layered. On one hand, he is generally regarded as the best football player in this draft and addresses one of the Raiders’ biggest needs: a transformational, disruptive force on defense. Carter represents exactly that.

On the other hand, the off-field concerns are real. And the Raiders — especially the Raiders — have to be aware of that element.

That said, the Raiders need to allow their on-field and off-field evaluation process to guide them to a decision on whether Carter is a risk or not. That is what the next month or so should be devoted to.

Raiders Need to Nail the Draft

Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler has taken a much slower approach to free agency this offseason. The biggest splashes the team made were signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. The offense wasn’t the team’s biggest issue last season so it has stood out that the team hasn’t made any splashes on defense.

That’s likely because the team has big plans to address the defense in the draft. The Raiders have been arguably the worst drafting team in the NFL over the past several seasons. Ziegler didn’t have many picks last year so it’s unclear how he’ll perform in the draft. If he puts together a bad class this year, he likely won’t keep his job for very long.

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