Wade Payne/Associated Press
- Antonio Smith
- C.J. Wilson
Another big free-agent addition for the Raiders’ pass rush this offseason was Antonio Smith.
Coming over from Houston, Smith had long been a 5-technique end in the Texans’ 3-4 front, but he will now make the transition to the 3-technique in the Raiders’ 4-3.
Every player is different, as is every defensive system, but Jason Hatcher’s increased production in 2013 after the Dallas Cowboys made the switch to an even front demonstrates the kind of opportunities that different roles can present.
Smith has always been among the league’s best pass-rushing 3-4 ends, so it will be interesting to see if he can flourish in his new position with the Raiders, much like Hatcher was able to do in Dallas.
Behind him on the depth chart is C.J. Wilson, a former 3-4 end coming over from the Green Bay Packers.
Wilson gives the Raiders solid depth both here and across the defensive front, as his versatility will allow him to play a number of positions.
Of course, the Raiders’ crowded nose tackle group should see snaps here in rotation, as should Justin Tuck in nickel sets, making defensive tackle one of the Raiders’ deeper positions on this side of the ball.