Let's start with the obvious: The 2020 Raiders defense is embarrassingly bad.
Paul Guenther's unit was expected to make a leap toward respectability this season. The Raiders spent most of their salary-cap space on defensive upgrades, almost all of whom have given them nothing through six games. Derek Carr and the Raiders' offense are the only reason the Silver and Black survived their early-season road at 3-3.
With the NFL trade deadline approaching, the Raiders should look to upgrade their defense in any way possible. I don't think a trade is likely, but one name has surfaced that should perk up Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock's ears: Quinnen Williams.
The young defensive tackle was someone the Raiders loved coming out of Alabama. The New York Jets drafted Williams one pick before the Raiders in 2019, and the Raiders selected Clelin Ferrell after being unable to find a willing trade partner to move down.
According to The New York Daily News' Manish Mehta, the Jets are trying to trade Williams before the Nov. 3 deadline. Mehta's report has been refuted by other Jets reporters. SNY's Ralph Vacchiano reports the Jets don't want to trade Williams but that general manager Joe Douglas is willing to listen to offers and that there is interest.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that it would take more than a second-round pick to nab Williams.
So, let's get the trade deadline smoke out of here and assume Williams is, in some way, available. The Raiders are coming off a game in which they hit Tom Brady one time and never sacked him. The Raiders rank 30th in the NFL at 1.2 sacks per game. They rank 28th in sack percentage at 3.06 percent.
They simply can't get to the quarterback.
Williams had a subpar rookie season, but he played through an injury for almost its entirety. The 22-year-old has been playing good football this season and still has an extremely high ceiling. In six games this season, Williams has three sacks, 18 solo tackles and a forced fumble, per Pro Football Focus. This season he has 13 pressures, 18 run stops and a PFF grade of 69.9. He has a pressure rate of eight percent.
The Jets won't give Williams away but if he can be had for a reasonable price, I can't see why the Raiders wouldn't want to add a talented defensive tackle who can be an anchor on their defensive line for the next half-decade. Williams would give the Raiders exactly what they've been missing: a defensive lineman who can get to the quarterback and stop the run.
Plus, Williams can only improve once he washes Adam Gase's stink off him. The Raiders would be getting a talented, young defensive lineman who they loved two years ago. Nothing should have changed. The Raiders' defense surely hasn't gotten any better in the middle. Or anywhere for that matter.
Maurice Hurst has been solid on the interior for the Raiders, but they've gotten nothing from anyone else, including free-agent signee Maliek Collins.
injecting Wiliams into their defense could at least give their pass rush a pulse. And if Williams can start disrupting up the middle, that could open things up for Ferrell and Maxx Crosby on the outside.
I don't think the Raiders make any deadline moves, but they have to inquire about Williams.