Originally written on Thoughts from the Dark Side  |  Last updated 11/20/14

2012 Free Agency begins next Tuesday, March 13th at 4pm.  The third in a series of looks at positions the Raiders may target.

2011 starters:
Defensive End: Lamarr Houston, Matt Shaugnessy
Defensive Tackle: Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly

Offseason Moves so far: none

On the Roster:
Defensive Tackle
Richard Seymour
Tommy Kelly
John Henderson



Defensive End:
Matt Shaughnessy
Lamarr Houston

Practice Squad:
DT: Jamie Cumbie – picked up as a UFA. Spent all of 2011 on practice squad. Signed to future/reserve contract 1/3/12
DE: Hall Davis – signed to future/reserve contact 1/6/2012
NT: Travis Ivey – signed to future/reserve contact 1/3/2012

Restricted Free Agents:
Desmond Bryant

Unrestricted Free Agents:
Jarvis Moss
Trevor Scott
Mason Brodine – exclusive rights free agent

Projected 2012 Starters:
4-3: Shaughnessy, Seymour, Kelly, Houston
3-4: Bryant, Kelly, Seymour

Outlook:
The first two positions of need that we've already discussed, Cornerback and Linebacker, are the most important simply because there are not enough bodies to even fill those positions as well as a lack of talent.  The Raiders have some talent on their roster on the defensive line but they lack a dominant force and were, at times, completely unable to collapse the pocket last season.

At tackle, Richard Seymour is a 2011 Pro-Bowler but that was more reputation than deserving.  He struggled with health issues and sloppy play throughout the season.  He disappeared in many games and was not the dominant force the Raiders were hoping he'd be.

Tommy Kelly was probably the better of the two tackles in '11.  He has a maddening tendency to try to predict the snap count and gets more than his fair share of offsides penalties.  If the Raiders are serious about reducing penalties, he will have to play more disciplined in '12.

At end, Matt Shaughnessy has a lot of promise but was injured most of last season.  Lamarr Houston had a very disappointing sophomore season after showing a high intensity motor as a rookie in 2010.  Both are expected to be back and probably will start when the Raiders are in 4-3 alignment.

Coach Allen wants to be "multiple" on defense, which means he'd like the Raiders to also be able to play the 3-4 defense.  None of the players on the team last season fit the mold of a space eating Nose Tackle in the 3-4. 

In New England, Seymour was a 3-4 defensive end, where he may play again in that alignment in Oakland.  Seymour could also attempt to play Nose but he's not as big as a true NT.

Kelly has shed some weight in recent years – and it's seemed to help his play – but he may be asked to bulk up a bit and attempt Nose Tackle.  I hope this isn't the case, though, as Kelly really played poorly at a higher weight because his conditioning was poor.

Desmond Bryant has the makings of a really good 3-4 DE.  He played some end last season in the 4-3 where he is a stout run stopper.  He's big enough to play 3-4 end and he showed some good conditioning – there were plays where he would be chasing a runner 10 or more yards down the field, which is rare for a tackle.

The Raiders did sign a future/reserve contract with a true NT named Travis Ivey at the beginning of the year and he has some potential, I hear.  It will be interesting to see how he fares in camp to see if he's destined for the practice squad or if he could make a push to the actual roster and maybe even make a splash this season.

DT John Henderson's best days are behind him and he is expected to be released any day, now.

In Free Agency, many fans are clamoring for Mario Williams.  While Williams played LB in Houston last season in the 3-4, he's a more natural Defensive End.  I would expect a team that plays 4-3 to sign him over a 3-4 team because he's at his best and most disruptive rushing the passer.  He's one of the, if not the, premier player in this year's free agency pool and I cannot imagine the Raiders signing him, I'm sorry to say.

I'm hoping the Raiders target one of the veteran Nose Tackles available this year.  A good NT is worth his (considerable) weight in gold.  There are a few that have been allowed to hit the market that would be immediate impact players – The overall consensus best is Paul Soliali from the Miami Dolphins.  He is 28, 6-4 and 355 and can be an impact player at one of the most important positions on the field.

Another impact tackle is former Jets tackle Sione Pouha.  He's a bit older, 33, but still productive.  He is 6-3, 325 lbs.  He was a backup for much of his career so he doesn't have as much mileage as many 33 year old players.

Another possibility is former Saints and 49ers tackle Aubrayo Franklin.  He played at a very high level in San Francisco from 2007-2010 but had a disappointing year in New Orleans last season.  He may be a good value selection for the team if they cannot land one of the top tackles.

Who do you want the Raiders to sign, if anyone, this free agency period?

Ask me questions or tell me what you think on Twitter @AsherMathews

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Red Sox set to add Hanley Ramirez

Darrelle Revis, Ndamukong Suh exchange words after game

Curt Schilling's son causes scare at Logan Airport

Manziel's girlfriend weighs in on the Browns QB situation

Scalpers in Detroit selling free Jets-Bills tickets for $125

Report: Redskins could bench Robert Griffin III

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Broncos have meeting with scoreboard operator

Report: Cowboys could still pursue Adrian Peterson

Manny Pacquiao: I'm ready to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr.

John Calipari gets daughter's birthday wrong

Carson: Hall of Fame career not worth concussion problems

Tiger hires new swing coach

10 takeaways from Sunday's Week 12 NFL action

WWE Survivor Series results: Sting debuts, Team Cena wins

WATCH: Odell Beckham makes the catch of the season

WATCH: Marshawn Lynch's awesome post game interview

Video: RG3 gets crushed, his linemen look unfazed

WATCH: Dominic Raiola tries to cheap-shot Patriots' lineman

WATCH: Janoris Jenkins returns interception for 99 yd TD

WATCH: TY Hilton chokes up in emotional postgame interview

WATCH: Chris Clemons accidentally knocks ref's hat off

WATCH: Aaron Rodgers throws nifty TD across his body

WATCH: LeGarrette Blount does Antonio Brown's end zone dance

WATCH: Eagles take opening kickoff 107 yards for TD

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Beckham makes the catch of the season

10 takeaways from NFL Week 12

WWE Survivor Series results

Report: Red Sox set to add Hanley Ramirez

Dominic Raiola admits to dirty play

WATCH: Revis, Suh exchange words

Manziel's GF wants her man to play

Cowboys to pursue Adrian Peterson?

Cal gets daughter's bday wrong

Carson: Career not worth concussions

Report: Gundy pursuing Florida job

Tiger hires new swing coach

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.