The unsung hero of the Las Vegas Raiders: EDGE Malcolm Koonce

In 2014, the Raiders made a wise choice by selecting Khalil Mack with the fifth overall pick in the draft. Mack, who played college football at Buffalo, proved to be a valuable asset for the team. Fast forward to 2021, and the Raiders once again turned to Buffalo for talent, drafting edge-rusher Malcolm Koonce with the 80th overall pick in the third round.

While Koonce may not have the same skill set as Mack, he had a successful college career and even earned the title of 2019 Bahamas Bowl Defensive MVP for his performance against Charlotte. Despite limited playing time in his first two seasons with the Raiders, Koonce showed promise with two sacks and six pressures in 2021 and 2022.

However, it wasn’t until 2023 that Koonce truly demonstrated his potential. In his first starting season, he recorded eight sacks and 52 total pressures, establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with on the field. His performance was only surpassed by Maxx Crosby in terms of productivity among Raiders pass-rushers that season.

Koonce’s impressive numbers in his first starting season show that he has the potential to make a significant impact on the team. While he may not reach the same heights as Khalil Mack, he is certainly worth keeping an eye on as he continues to develop his skills on the field.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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