Las Vegas Raiders Receive Huge Praise For Dangerous Offseason Move

Antonio Pierce, Christian Wilkins, Las Vegas Raiders
NFL Analysis Network

The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off of a 2023 campaign in which they went 8-9 and missed the playoffs, but they went 5-4 over their final nine games under Antonio Pierce and were demonstrating signs of having a fierce defense.

Well, the Raiders decided to double down on defense in free agency, signing defensive lineman Christian Wilkins to a massive four-year, $110 million deal in a move that Bleacher Report’s Ryan Fowler calls the club’s most dangerous offseason addition.

That’s meant in a good way.

Wilkins was one of the top defensive players on the free-agent market and is coming off of a fantastic season with the Miami Dolphins in which he racked up 65 tackles, nine sacks, a forced fumble and a couple of fumble recoveries.

Christian Wilkins Will Significantly Bolster The Defense

The 28-year-old will join a Las Vegas pass rush that already includes Maxx Crosby and Malcolm Koonce, the two of whom combined for 22.5 sacks this past year.

Wilkins’ presence on the interior should further open up Crosby, Koonce and Adam Butler for more shots at opposing quarterbacks, and Wilkins of course can get in on the action himself.

The Clemson product was selected by the Dolphins with the 13th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

He immediately flashed his potential during his rookie campaign, finishing with 56 tackles and a couple of sacks. After posting similar numbers in his sophomore year, Wilkins broke out in 2021, rattling off 89 tackles, 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Wilkins further established himself as a dominant run-stuffer in 2022, registering 98 stops, 3.5 sacks, a pair of forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and six passes defended.

While he was also a decent pass rusher, as well, he really broke through in that regard this past year.

The Raiders finished 15th in yards allowed and ninth in scoring defense in 2023. They were considerably better after Pierce took over for Josh McDaniels, as Las Vegas went just 3-5 under McDaniels last season.

Pierce’s club still has a whole lot of questions to answer overall, but there is no question that the Raiders’ defense should be a point of strength in 2024.

Wilkins will be a big reason for that.

We’ll see if Las Vegas can make what would be just its third playoff appearance since 2003.

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