In 2018, the Raiders failed to execute on defense. Offensive tackles seemed to excel versus Oakland. If you look ahead at this season, the schedule remains a struggle. Now, Clelin Ferrell steps onto the field as the primary pass rusher. Yet, which opposing tackle will give him the biggest fit? FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria and Pete Camarillo debate this topic.
Ferrell and the Raiders d-line will see their fair mix of good tackles. Taylor Decker from the Lions and Eric Fisher from the Chiefs both merit consideration. Chargers tackle Russell Okung and Riley Rieff for the Vikings are solid. Bears tackle Charles Leno Jr and Packers’ David Bahktiari rank high, despite traditional athletic profile limitations. The Bengals tackle Cordy Glenn could bounce back as well. Don’t forget the Colts Anthony Castonzo.
Still, none of the guys challenge Taylor Lewan for the best all around tackle and matchup on the Raiders schedule. Lewan features the perfect blend of aggressiveness and size you want in a tackle. He is good against the run and the pass. In a vacuum, that’s enough to pose a real threat to Ferrell and whoever the Raiders throw at him. Then, you factor in veteran guard Rodger Saffold. Add mobile passers Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill (in case of injury/incompetency to Mariota) and Ferrell is going to have a long day playing passing lanes. Keeping contain and applying pressure seem like a full day. Not to mention, Lewan occupies the right side of 30 and only missed two regular season games since his rookie campaign. Luckily, this matchup comes in December, so hopefully Ferrell and the Raiders d-line are prepared.
In training camp, it will be the Los Angeles Rams’ Andrew Whitworth. The veteran, at 37, brings a wealth of experience. He’ll likely dominate the meeting between the two. However, Ferrell will receive an education like no other when the Rams and Raiders share training camp activities.
In season, the Green Bay Packers’ David Bakhtiari will be the best tackle Ferrell sees. However, it’s the second-best tackle — Kansas City’s Mitchell Schwartz — who the Raiders rookie will face twice this season.
Based on the AFC West meetings, Schwartz feels like the right pick. A top 10 run and pass blocker, Schwartz possesses the ability to neutralize Ferrell — identified as one of the drafts top run stuffers and pass rushers.