The Raiders need help on 11 positions on the defense, that much is clear.
Yes, 2019 rookie standouts Trayvon Mullen, Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell will play large roles in 2020. But improvement is needed across the board on defense, from the defensive line to the safeties.
The Raiders once again will be looking for pass-rush help this offseason, whether it be in free agency or the draft. With three third-round draft picks and a fourth-round pick, the Raiders should look to address their pass rush on Day 2 of the draft, with guys like Bradlee Anae, Julian Okawara and Curtis Weaver possibly being available.
But there's an under-the-radar player for general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden to keep their eyes on: Trevon Hill.
Hill, 6-foot-3, 233 pounds started his career at Virginia Tech playing under legendary defensive coordinator Bud Foster before transferring to Miami for his final season. The 22-year-old has innate pass-rushing ability, showing good burst off the edge, solid tilt, bend and powerful hands. He possesses the quick twitch needed to rush at the NFL level and has the athleticism to drop back into coverage.
"They'll be getting a guy who is dynamic," Hill told NBC Sports Bay Area during the week of Super Bowl LIV in Miami about what his pitch to GMs would be. "He's coming in willing to work hard, willing to take somebody's plate -- another grown man's plate -- and just you're going to get somebody who is dominant, man. Ready to work. Tenacious, savage, somebody that is going to go get it. I'm a high-motor guy, man."
When MIA EDGE Trevon Hill wants to be physical, as he is on this clip, he will affect plays despite not having a lot of sand in his pants. He could thrive in subpackages at the next level. #SnapScout pic.twitter.com/6TeM0uDTZu— Chad Reuter (@chad_reuter) November 16, 2019
Modern NFL teams always need guys who can pressure the quarterback, and Hill's potential should excite several teams, including the Raiders.
Look at his get off on this play.
This is quite frankly unfair. pic.twitter.com/xpWN7aFSqi— Daniel Gould (@dgould151) November 5, 2019
Hill will need to work on setting the edge at the NFL level and improve his strength to be a true factor. His high motor and uncanny ability to get to the quarterback, despite what some see as athletic limitations, might remind the Raiders and their fans of Crosby. Many expected Crosby to be a project and situational pass rusher coming out of Eastern Michigan, but he exploded onto the scene due to his nose for the quarterback.
During his college career, Hill notched 29.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks during his time with the Hurricanes and Hokies. His time under Foster and Miami coach Manny Diaz allowed him to be a sponge and soak up different defensive philosophies.
Hill spends time studying NFL stars all over the defensive line and tries to model his game after what Kansas City Chiefs edge rusher Frank Clark brings to the table.
"He just got that dog mentality," Hill said of Clark. "I think we have similar body type -- he might be a little bit heavier -- but height, same, quickness, same and he got that dog mentality and he backs it up."
As the Raiders proved last year, draft-class depth is just as important as top-end talent. Crosby and tight end Foster Moreau were fourth-round picks. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow had his name called in the fifth round. Those three were major contributors to the Raiders' surprising 7-9 season.
On a team looking for more people who can get to the quarterback, Hill is someone the Raiders should look at to improve their weary pass rush.