Oakland Raiders make splash with defensive signings

By Josh Walfish
Steve Mitchell- USA TODAY Sports

It is clear Reggie McKenzie understands the Oakland Raiders’ defense was in need of an overhaul.

The general manager let a lot of talent go in free agency, but has also picked up a lot of good players for less money. It all began by signing Nick Roach last week and it continued Monday when Kevin Burnett and Vance Walker joined the Silver and Black. Add in some of the role players like Justin Hunter and Pat Sims and Oakland has overhauled most of its defense.

The Monday signings showed how active McKenzie has been in the free agent market. Sims and Walker are two defensive tackles who will work well as a rotational players along the defensive line. The two are big bodies who will eat up blockers and make the occasional play in the backfield. Walker had his best season last year when he picked up 33 tackles and three sacks and Sims can match those numbers with more playing time.

The big signing was Burnett, who is coming off the two best seasons of his career. He is an upgrade from Philip Wheeler and his experience should help make Miles Burris a better player next season. Burnett, Burris and Roach will be an excellent trio at linebacker and should be making big plays in 2013.

You have to give McKenzie a lot of credit for finding quality players at a cheap price and finding upgrades at many positions. The outside linebackers are vastly improved and the defensive line is starting to get better. The secondary may need some more work, but overall Oakland has quietly had a very solid offseason on defense.

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