Finding a legitimate every-down pass rusher is on Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie's lengthy to-do list this offseason.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is an intriguing candidate, assuming he's available when the Raiders pick in the first round of the draft in May.
The Raiders hold the rights to the No. 5 pick. Clowney, 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds, is confident that he will be long gone by the time the Raiders pick.
"You watched the Super Bowl. Defense wins championships," Clowney said in response to why he should be selected by the Houston Texans at No. 1.
Clowney met with the media Saturday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Saturday in advance of his on-field workouts. The Raiders no doubt were among the teams paying close attention to everything Clowney said.
"You can tell a guy's work ethic by the way he plays the game," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said in an interview with Sirius radio in Indianapolis. "It's visiting with former high school coaches, former trainers, former equipment people, just trying to dig as much as you can into the background of that particular player to find out little bit more about them. Obviously, we're going to spend some time with these guys in the interview process."
Clowney intends to bolster his case for being a top pick, if not the first, by running a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, a time usually reserved for wide receivers and running backs.
The Raiders most accomplished pass rusher last season was end Lamarr Houston. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent unless the Raiders re-sign him between now and March 11, the start of free agency.
If Clowney performs well in the 40-yard dash, as well as other drills, in Indianapolis, that might force McKenzie to re-sign Houston or another proven end in free agency, just in case Clowney isn't around at No. 5.
Clowney arrived in Indianapolis surrounded by questions about his work ethic and desire to play hard every down. No one doubts his ability.
He countered by saying, "I want to be one of the best. I want to be one of the greatest of all time."
Earlier this week, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier fueled the speculation about Clowney's work ethic lacking by saying Clowney wasn't the hardest worker.
To that, Clowney said: "Once I get to the NFL, my career is going to go up."