On the first day of the 2014 NFL free agency period, the Oakland Raiders focused their efforts on the offensive line. They locked up Rodger Saffold and Austin Howard to five year deals. Now, it appears the focus has shifted to the defensive side of the ball with the Raiders bringing in defensive end Justin Tuck and linebacker LaMarr Woodley for visits.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Raiders will bring in both Justin Tuck of the New York Giants and former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley in for visits today. The Raiders let defensive end Lamarr Houston leave via free agency and join the Chicago Bears. That has left a gaping hole in their already needy defensive line. Oakland recorded 38 sacks as a team in 2013, led by Houston's six. That is a massive priority and one that could be helped by Woodley and Tuck.
Woodley is coming off a five sack season in 2013 where he started 11 games. He had a three year stretch from 2008-2010 were he amassed 35 sacks. However in the last three seasons, he has 18 total. He fits best as a pass rushing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
Tuck is coming off a season where he recorded 11 sacks in 15 starts, but only was able to muster nine total in the previous two seasons. He would bring some pedigree and leadership to the Raiders defense and fits into the team's base 4-3 scheme.
The bottom line for the Raiders is they desperately need to address their defensive line, particularly pass rush. Both Tuck and Woodley have the opportunity to help in that area, but the concern is their production in the last three years has been inconsistent and on the downslide.
Tags: 2014 NFL free agency, Austin Howard, Football, Justin Tuck, Lamarr Houston, LaMarr Woodley, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, Rodger Saffold