For eight seasons Corey Liuget put on his Chargers helmet and lined up at defensive end or tackle against the Raiders twice each year.
Now the 29-year-old Liuget is wearing silver and black and could be a key piece of the Oakland defensive front as a tackle after signing a free-agent deal.
Liuget, a first-round pick from Illinois in 2011, played just six games for the Chargers last season but says he’s put himself through a rigorous training program and is ready and excited to be back with an NFL team. He told Eddie Paskal of the Raiders website this week that he never thought he’d be a Raider but now fits in “perfect” because the Raiders run the same 4-3 defensive scheme he played in recent years.
“It’s a one-gap, penetrating defense, which is what I love, and for me, that’s my style of defense, and that’s what we had down with the Chargers the past couple years, so I’m just super excited to be in it now,” said Liuget.
With the Chargers, Liuget in recent years played tackle in the 4-3, after playing end in the 3-4 alignment. Throughout his career, he’s been able to generate sacks with inside pressure (24 in his career). The 6-foot-2, 300-pounder has proven in the past to be effective against both the run and pass. He now joins a deep group of defensive tackles that includes Justin Ellis, Johnathan Hankins, Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall, Ethan Westbrooks, rookie Anthony Rush and Eddie Vanderdoes.
Will he make the roster? It seems likely at this point, because of his experience. He has a few days – and Thursday night’s exhibition vs. the Seahawks – to make a good impression before the roster cut-down deadline Saturday.
Vic Tafur of The Athletic reported Liuget isn’t sure he’ll play Thursday night, however, and that he will need some time to get back into NFL game readiness.
But, head coach Jon Gruden certainly likes what he brings to the team.
“He gives us another veteran player with inside pass-rush ability,” said Gruden. “He can bat down passes, play with a motor. We are thrilled to have him. We are going to try and get him in great shape to get him ready as soon as possible.”
The Raiders are scheduled to take on the Seahawks Thursday in Seattle at 7 p.m.