Denico Autry has been a quality rotational player along the defensive line since joining the Oakland Raiders in 2014. He’s set to be a free agent this offseason — will the team re-sign him?
Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Denico Autry will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. After signing with the team as an undrafted free agent following the 2014 NFL draft, Autry has developed into a versatile lineman in the defensive rotation. The new coaching staff will have to decide if he is a player they want to keep around or if they will let him walk.
The Case To Re-Sign Autry
Autry has proven to be a disruptive force with a great first step and initial burst. Playing in the two-gap system of former defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. did not allow him to show off his physical skill set. He was forced to catch the offensive linemen’s block then read and react to the play as it unfolded.
The single gap scheme of new coordinator Paul Guenther should take the leash off the defensive line as a whole, and Autry especially.
If the Raiders resign him again, no DL will benefit from the new single gap scheme like Autry will. pic.twitter.com/e4YLQazcSO
— Chris Reed (@LVRaidersreview) January 30, 2018
The above play from Week 17 against the LA Chargers is a perfect example of his ability to disrupt the run game. Autry shot his gap and dropped the running back for about a 4-yard loss. Run stuffs like this will undoubtedly intrigue Guenther as well as new head coach Jon Gruden. It also highlights Autry’s physical abilities when he isn’t forced to take on blocks. He is one of the most natural fits currently on the roster for the new defensive scheme.
Autry also has a real talent for knocking down passes and blocking field goals. Denico gets his hands on a pass seemingly every week. He was actually tied with cornerback Dexter McDonald for 2nd with 7 passes defended. They were both edged out by cornerback TJ Carrie who had 9. A defensive lineman coming in 2nd in pass defections either says something good about him or bad about the secondary.
Autry has a knack for blocking FG’s. He puts his 6’5″ frame to good use. pic.twitter.com/nkImQOAQx6
— Chris Reed (@LVRaidersreview) January 29, 2018
With so many NFL games ending in single score differences, plays like this blocked field goal could be the difference between a win or a loss. For an undrafted free agent, Autry has secured a role on defense and special teams for the Raiders.
The Case Against Re-Signing Autry
The decision to re-sign Autry may not entirely be made by the teams front office. Another team may simply come with an offer the Reggie McKenzie cannot afford to match. With EDGE Khalil Mack looking for a new deal this offseason, McKenzie will most likely be frugal with the salary cap. There are always player cuts and other financial maneuvers available however, should they deem Autry a priority. Simple dollars and cents will be the biggest factor in Autry’s return or departure.
From a performance standpoint, the only real negative in Denico’s play is a lack of sack production. In his four seasons with the Raiders, Autry only has recorded 10 1/2 sacks. Again though, the new defensive scheme will correct that. Letting the defensive line simply attack should boost stats across the board and lead to many more sacks.
Autry’s sack numbers would really improve under Guenther, if the team resigns him. pic.twitter.com/C5USQQ7zvk
— Chris Reed (@LVRaidersreview) February 1, 2018
If no other team backs up a Brinks truck for Autry, expect him to be back next season. He has the physical abilities to excel in the new defensive design and should be one of the most productive linemen the Raiders field in 2018.