If the Oakland Raiders had a weakness last season, it was probably the middle of their defense. Oakland ranked 25th in yards allowed per carry and 23rd in Football Outsiders' Adjusted Line Yards, and allowed a greater percentage of runs to go right up the gut than all but one other team in the league. The Raiders also ranked just 26th in the percentage of running plays they stopped in the backfield.
The Raiders didn't do much to address those issues this offseason, as their only defensive free agent signing was linebacker Jelani Jenkins, and the first draft pick that addressed the defensive front was Eddie Vanderdoes in the third round.
Now, a member of their front seven has gone down with an injury. Jihad Ward, the team's second round pick in 2016, recently had foot surgery. According to a report from NFL.com, Ward — who recently posted a photo of himself on Snapchat where he was wearing a hospital gown and using a leg scooter — is expected to be ready for training camp in mid-August.
Ward started 13 games for the Raiders last season while splitting time between defensive tackle and defensive end. He recorded 30 combined tackles and 11 run stops, per Pro Football Focus. He was on the field for around 40 percent of the Raiders' snaps and should be in line to factor heavily in their defensive line rotation again this season.