Longshot Lamur? Not if you consider the history between him and Guenther…
Special teams work is now his calling card, but don’t be surprised if Emmanuel Lamur emerges as a starting outside linebacker for the Oakland Raiders.
The soon-to-be 29-year-old (in early June) inked a one-year $790,000 pact this offseason and is both familiar with Paul Guenther, and has the physical and mental attributes that the new Raiders defensive coordinator covets.
Two of three linebacker positions are likely filled with free agent additions Derrick Johnson (Chiefs) manning the middle and Tahir Whitehead (Lions) slated for outside duties in Guenther’s 4-3 scheme. That leaves one spot with a host of players (Lamur, Nicholas Morrow, Kyle Wilber and more) vying to be the third LB.
Lamur has a little bit of an edge. It was during the Cincinnati Bengals’ 2014 campaign Lamur, an undrafted free agent in 2012, seized the weakside linebacker starting spot for Guenther’s defense and produced a career year (92 total tackles, two interceptions, and seven pass deflections). Using his unique blend of size and speed, Lamur was the most disruptive front seven defender against the pass.
“Paulie Guenther, it’s great to reunite with him,” Lamur told Raiders.com. “He brought me in as an undrafted free agent, he’s always had my back since the beginning. It feels good to be back with him again.”
The following season, however, saw Lamur relegated to nickel coverages (40 tackles and half a sack) before inconsistency (mainly missed tackles) and the inability to maintain a clean bill of health (he landed on injured reserve) stymied the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder’s development. In 2016, Lamur landed with the Minnesota Vikings, which coincidentally, is coached by Guenther’s mentor Mike Zimmer.
Minnesota is where Lamur honed his special teams’ craft while also spot starting at outside linebacker (30 total tackles in two years).
“Coach Zim’ always emphasizes for special teams players to make plays. Not just offense or defense but complementary football: offense, defense and special teams,” Lamur told Vikings.com. “We take pride on special teams, just coming out here and giving an opportunity for our team to win. Special teams play a major role in field position and all of the things that come with it.”
Instead of sulking about being relegated to the special teams unit, Lamur simply went about his business while maintaining a keen readiness just in case.
“Not only staying ready physically but mentally, just taking in every detail because when you’re a backup, you don’t really get as many reps,” he said. “That means you’ve really got to be attentive to the little things, pay attention to details and technique. It’s definitely been a challenge, but at the same time, it’s been humbling for me.”
Get that second portion of Lamur’s quote? Attention. To. Detail.
After the Raiders first OTA, players made available at the presser harped on Jon Gruden’s emphasis on the details.
There’s a long stretch of time before the Raiders create a definitive depth chart. Players who run with the first team now could be running scout the next and vice versa.
“Over the next nine or 10 OTA practices, we’ll have a pretty good idea of who’s dialed in mentally and who can physically make the plays and who deserves to be number one and number two and number three,” Gruden said on Tuesday.
There will be some surprises to the eventual Gruden Raiders roster.
And it’s perhaps a veteran like Lamur — a player who once opened eyes at his Pro Day (ran a 4.63 40 as a linebacker) and showcased the ability to cover tight ends and running backs at the pro level — who will be one of them.