Raiders News: DE Malcolm Koonce Could be One of the Biggest Beneficiaries of a Successful Offseason

The Las Vegas Raiders have made many moves to improve their team. Defensive end Malcolm Koonce could be one of the team’s biggest beneficiaries of its offseason moves.Sep 10, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Malcolm Koonce (51) celebrates

Entering last season, the Las Vegas Raiders were waiting for a handful of players to have breakout seasons for the team. Some players did, and some players didn’t.

One of the players who began to show just how much he had grown since the Raiders drafted him was defensive end Malcolm Koonce. The veteran defensive lineman entered last season needing a productive season in his third year in the league.

After spending the first half of last season showing growth but not converting on sack opportunities, Koonce began taking off the week after former Raiders coach Josh McDaniels was fired. Through the first eight weeks of last season, Koonce had zero sacks.

He recorded his first sack in the Raiders’ first game under Coach Antonio Pierce and would record eight sacks over the final nine weeks of the season.

Koonce showed enough in the season’s final nine games for the Raiders to be confident he’s the defensive end they have been searching for to complement Maxx Crosby. After years of trying different players to man the defensive end position opposite of Crosby, the Raiders seem to have found that player in Koonce. At the end of last season, the duo combined for a total of 146 pressures, which was among the highest total of any pass-rushing duo in the league.

Last season, Koonce was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Raiders’ coaching change. This season, he could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Telesco’s improved roster. Adding veteran defensive lineman Christian Wilkins will benefit the entire defense, especially Crosby.

However, it could benefit Koonce more than even Crosby, as most offensive lines will focus on Crosby and Wilkins first, leaving Koonce with minimal focus from offensive lines this season. The pressure created by Crosby and Wilkins should also push plays toward Koonce, allowing him to make more plays this season.

Telesco and the Raiders added more cornerbacks and linebackers, making the Raiders’ defensive line one of the best in the league with the Wilkins signings. All of these will benefit Koonce greatly on the field.

Koonce has a chance to benefit in a more critical way of the field, as he is entering a contract year and now has the coaching staff and improved roster around him to help him reach his full potential with a life-changing contract potentially on the other end of a successful season for him. Few players on the Raiders’ roster can individually benefit more from a productive offseason off the field and on the field than Koonce.

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