Raiders could have a dynamic pass rush in 2015
Former 49ers OLB Aldon Smith signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders Friday, in what amounts to a low-risk, high-reward deal for the team.
Smith is one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL, and pairing Smith — provided he can behave himself off the field and isn’t disciplined by the league for past behavioral issues, which are what led to his release from San Francisco — opposite rising star OLB Khalil Mack will make for a devastating combination.
If both players perform to their potential, they will rival the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL: the Chiefs (Justin Houston and Tamba Hali), the Ravens (Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil), and the Broncos (Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware).
Smith comes into 2015 as our No. 10-ranked edge defender in PFF rating, at 85.2. With Mack as our No. 6 edge defender, the signing makes Oakland the only team in the NFL with two top-10 players at that position.
While his 2014 season was shortened to seven games because of his off-field issues, Smith still put up productive numbers while grading positively in six of the games. He totaled 31 pressures in 213 pass-rush snaps, ranking ninth among NFL 3-4 OLBs in pass-rushing productivity.
Mack already showed last season that he was an excellent run defender, and has displayed an increased pass-rush ability this preseason. If that level of play continues and Smith is on the field and productive, the Raiders could have a very formidable pass rush in 2015.