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Mailbag: Blitzing More Under Mike Nolan?


If the Raiders had taken CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs/K'Lavon Chaisson were sitting there at 17, who do you think would have been drafted and would the draft grade have been lower for it? — CHAD EVERETT / LEXINGTON, NC

Rob: You mean the media's draft grades? CeeDee Lamb is universally viewed as a steal, so without him those grades probably would've dropped a tick. But the Cowboys have been praised for finding value in virtually every round. If Lamb hadn't been there at 17, I have a feeling they would've addressed pass rush — arguably their biggest pure draft need. So, I'll guess Chaisson in your scenario. But they got the guy they wanted.

David: It's funny, because most people in the media viewed Ruggs as the third-best receiver in this class, behind Lambs and Jerry Jeudy — but Ruggs was the first one off the board on Draft Night. The reason we in the media graded the pick so high is because a lot of us viewed Lamb as the best pure receiver prospect, so yes I do think the grade would've dropped. And I do agree with Rob that, if the choice had been between Ruggs and Chaisson, I think they'd have gone with Chaisson. Though I guess we'll never know for sure.

I look at how many possible pass rushers this team could put on the field at once. The last few years the scheme has been to keep the ball in front and stop them short of the marker. Could we see a lot more of third down pressure, possibly all out blitzes, to force mistakes and turnovers or at least a quick throw away instead? —RONALD TIDWELL / SWEETWATER, TX

Rob: This wasn't a high-volume blitzing defense under Rod Marinelli, so yeah, perhaps we'll see more pressures dialed up. Having press corners who disrupt routes helps you play more of that style. But beyond that, I think the biggest change might be more disguising those pressures and where they're coming from.

David: I can only sayI hope so. You're right, there's a lot of versatile pass rushers on this defense. We've seen how valuable Jaylon Smith can be creating pressure in the backfield, and that doesn't even include the traditional pass rushers on the roster. Outside of the occasional corner blitz, Rod Marinelli was typically in favor of simply using four down linemen. Hopefully we see pressure coming from a variety of different places this year.

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