Just how good could the Raiders defense be?

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The Oakland Raiders defense has been revamped every season since the Reggie McKenzie/Dennis Allen era began. Last season was the most dramatic change with only a couple of returning starters, but this year is not far behind. It looks as though the Raiders may only have four starters from 2013 who are starting again this season.

My early prediction of the starters on defense for the Raiders is as follows: Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Antonio Smith, Pat Sims, Khalil Mack, Nick Roach, Sio Moore, DJ Hayden, Tarell Brown, Charles Woodson and Tyvon Branch.

Tyvon Branch, Charles Woodson, Sio Moore and Nick Roach are the only true starters who will likely be starting again this season. Pat Sims and DJ Hayden started some games but were not consistent starters. Even naming Branch in that group is questionable since he only played two games last season before being injured. But since he would have clearly been the starter all season long if healthy, I kept him in the group.

So, with an almost entirely new defensive roster, how good will the Raiders defense be? It showed flashes of being a very good unit last season and seemingly has gotten better. Let’s take a look at each position group and see if it got better and by how much.

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  • raiderchris56

    The one thing that I still can’t believe about AL Davis was his lack of respect for the linebacker position. It is clearly the second most important defensive position behind CB. Reggie is building what the Raiders used to have though never bragged up by ADavis, a great LB core with depth. I’m loving what I’m seeing and it foreshadows a return to greatness.

  • Anonymous

    Ted Hendricks, Matt Millen, Rod Martin, Phil Villapiano. Obvious to me Al Davis liked the linebacker position.

  • Dru

    I love Sio Moore, but he was hardly the best rookie LB last year. Kiko Alonso looks like a perennial pro bowler while Moore had just shown us promise. No doubt Moore is good, but not on Kiko’s level just yet.