American Football

Raiders 2023 free agent: Ron Leonard fits


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Justin Houston | Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Will new defensive line coach bring some familiar faces with him?

Last year, Josh McDaniels tapped into his assistant coaching staff to prepare for free agency and the Las Vegas Raiders signed some players some of the staff had history with.

The Raiders brought in a small group of new coaches in 2023 and it’s fair to wonder if they will have any influence on the Raiders’ plan when the legal-tampering period in free agency begins Monday. One of the new Las Vegas coaches is Ron Leonard, who will be the new defensive line coach. Frank Okam, one of the Raiders coaches on the line on 2022, was recently fired.

So, it’s fair to look at the recent history of Leonard, who worked with Las Vegas defensive coordinator Patrick Graham in two different spots in the NFL (Miami and New York Giants), to see if there are any Raiders’ fits who played for him in recent years. Leonard was the outside linebacker coach of the Baltimore Ravens in 2022 and spent the three previous seasons with the Dolphins and he had had different roles being the linebackers coach. outside linebackers coach and assistant defensive line coach during his tenure,

So, it’s fair to look at both defensive lineman and linebackers from the Ravens and Dolphins as it pertains to Leonard’s influence on Las Vegas’ free-agent preparations.

From Baltimore, possible free agent fits, include pass-rushers Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive end Steven Means, outside linebacker Vince Biegel and linebackers Kristian Welch and Del’Shawn Phillips.

If the Raiders are looking for some veteran pass-rush help behind Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones, Houston and Pierre-Paul could be interesting. Houston, 34, had 9.5 sacks last season and Pierre-Paul, also 34, had three sacks last season.

From Miami, possible free-agent fits include linebackers Elandon Roberts (who was also with the Raiders’ brass in New England), Duke Riley, Andrew Van Ginkel and Sam Equavoen and defensive tackle John Jenkins. All of these players may be depth additions if the Raiders make a play on them based on Roberts’ history.

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