Could the Raiders target DT Leonard Williams in free agency?

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The Raiders tried to upgrade their interior defensive line this season, adding veteran Maliek Collins in free agency. The hope was that between Collins and Maurice Hurst, the two would generate enough pressure inside to create problems for opposing offenses.

Unforurtantely, that hasn’t been the case as Collins is currently grading out as one of the league’s worst interior defenders and Hurst has had a problem staying healthy. That is why it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team dip their toes in free agency once again this season to improve the position.

In a recent article by Pro Football Focus, they listed the top-50 free agents ahead of the 2021 offseason. One name that was listed fairly high was Giants defensive tackle, Leonard Williams. Here is what the site had to say about the former USC star:

“One of the surest bets in the class, Williams has graded between 70.0 and 82.0 in all six years of his career. Run defense is his calling card, as he ranks in the 86th percentile in PFF run-defense grade since entering the league and with his best work coming as a B and C gap defender. Williams is an average pass-rusher and even with increased sack totals this season, he’s yet to break a 72.0 pass-rush grade for his career. Still, Williams has been one of the most valuable interior defensive linemen in the league since 2015, and his level of consistency is a plus for potential suitors.”

Back in the 2015 NFL Draft, Mike Mayock ranked Williams as the No. 1 overall player in the class. He praised him for his positional versatility and ability to stop the run, both of which the Raiders are desperately lacking right now.

If the Raiders want to improve as a defense, they need to beef up the interior defensive line. While Williams isn’t a stud pass-rusher, he is a valuable player who would be a significant upgrade over the likes of Collins and Hurst. His ability to slide up and down the defensive line would give this team a much-needed boost in the front four.

Keep an eye on Williams as a potential free-agent target for the Raiders as he fills their biggest need.

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