Oakland Raiders: A Look at the Competition at Defensive Tackle
This year, OTAs are looking very promising, and there is competition everywhere.
According to Tom Cable, we have had the best OTA attendance he has ever seen, despite Richard Seymour's absence.
One of the more interesting competition is at defensive tackle, mainly because the interior D-line has been a weakness for the Raiders for years.
Here's a look at the players competing to earn a spot on the roster as a defensive tackle.
The Raiders will likely only keep four of these guys. They have been known to only keep three active defensive tackles on the roster in the past, despite running a 4-3 defense.
No. 93 Tommy Kelly: 6'6", 300 lbs
If you're a Raiders fan, you likely either love or hate Tommy Kelly.
On one hand, he receives constant criticism for the huge contract he signed. Not to mention the fact that the team has been towards the bottom of the league in run defense while he has been on the team.
But on the other hand, you can't deny his production. Statistically, Tommy Kelly ranked fifth in tackles among all DTs and 15th among all D-linemen. He beat out players like Richard Seymour, Jared Allen, Casey Hampton, Pat Williams, and Albert Haynesworth.
In my opinion, he is the only lock to make the team and will likely start again at the 3-technique.
No. 90 Desmond Bryant: 6'5", 290 lbs
Desmond Bryant was brought in out of Harvard last year as an undrafted rookie. Considering his higher academic achievements and his undrafted status, he played very well.
He played in all 16 games, providing relief for the starters and was able to amass 24 tackles.
Though he is a little undersized to play the 1-technique he is one of the Raiders' top candidates to start alongside Tommy Kelly.
No. 73 Ryan Boschetti: 6'4", 310 lbs
Ryan Boschetti was taken by the Washington Redskins in 2004 as an undrafted rookie out of UCLA. Since then, he has done very little, starting in only two games and amassing a mere 19 tackles in his six years in the league.
He was brought in last year to push the other D-linemen, because he is known for his non-stop motor and work ethic.
But it will take more than pure effort to make the Raiders, and his non-stop motor hasn't done much for him in the past. He has an outside shot at making the team.
No. 78 Chris Cooper: 6'5", 285 lbs
Chris Cooper is the definition of a journeymen player.
He was drafted in 2001 by the Oakland Raiders in the sixth round. Given his draft status, he played well his first three years in the league, starting in 11 games for the Raiders.
Since then he has played for San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, and Arizona, only to return to where he started in Oakland.
Throughout his eight years in the league, he has amassed 132 tackles eight sacks and even an interception.
In my opinion though, he is undersized, weighing in at only 285 lbs. He has a fairly decent chance at making the team as a backup.
No. 94 William Joseph: 6'5", 310 lbs
William Joseph was drafted in the first round out of Miami by the New York Giants. And since then, he has failed to live up to his draft status and hype.
He spent the 1st five years of his career in New York until he was signed by the Raiders in 2008.
Throughout the seven years of his NFL career, he has started in 17 games, amassing 88 tackles, seven sacks, and seven pass deflections.
He has a good chance to see action alongside Tommy Kelly.
No. 67 Kellen Heard: 6'5", 355 lbs
Kellen Heard is the biggest wild card on the Raiders' roster.
On one hand, he went undrafted, and it is hard to expect much out of an undrafted rookie, if they even make the team.
But on the other hand, it has been suggested the only reason he went undrafted was because he was blacklisted for a cheap shot on one of college football's icons, Colt McCoy.
Heard has played both OT and DT throughout college and has the size to clog the middle.
In my opinion, he has an outside shot at making the active roster and will likely land on the practice squad as a rookie.
The Raiders have announced that Lamarr Houston will be playing defensive end. At 6'3", 305 lbs, he is well built to play defensive tackle. I wouldn't rule out this guy seeing action at DT on passing downs.
Richard Seymour, at 6'6", 310 lbs, is also well equipped and experienced enough to see action at DT.
In addition, there are viable options for the Raiders via trade or free agency, such as John Henderson and Hollis Thomas.