Cory Littleton: The Linebacker Raiders Need

On the second day in the 2020 NFL free agency tampering period, the Las Vegas Raiders have agreed to terms with their third signee. Former Rams linebacker Cory Littleton joins the Raiders and offers the perfect skill set for the position.

Cory Littleton is the Pillar the Raiders Defense Needs

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Losing out on top free agent cornerback Byron Jones didn’t stop the Raiders from pursuing another of the best players available. On Tuesday, the Silver and Black reached an agreement with Pro Football Focus’ 14th best overall linebacker in 2019, Cory Littleton.

The top ranked linebacker in free agency is heading to Las Vegas with a prudent contract that averages less than $12 million per year over the next three seasons. His price tag is as sound as his play was in Los Angeles last year.

What He Brings To The Raiders

The 26-year old Littleton is coming into his own as a premier pass defender in a league where throwing the ball seeks to be the king. As a former undrafted free agent, he started his career as a special teamer for the first two years of his career before he carved a niche as one of the league’s best players in pass coverage at the second level.

While he dominated the middle of the field last season with his athleticism, it is hard to fathom why he became a free agent. As you can see below, the Rams loss will quickly turn into the Raiders gain.

Littleton’s forte is his prowess to shadow opposing players; a highly coveted facet with the caliber of running backs and tight ends that are currently present in the AFC West. While his coverage skills are second to none, his soundness as an open field tackler makes him a complete linebacker.

Littleton topped the league in tackle efficiency (91.6%) per Pro Football Focus in 2019. Combined with his coverage skills, he’s one of the most complete defenders in the whole league.

Related: Will 2020 Legal Tampering Period Be Repeat of Last Year for Raiders?

A Good Start

The Raiders have jumped to a fantastic start in free agency on the defensive side of the ball by spending with calculated tact and efficiency. Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton make for a strong duo that will provide athleticism, knowledge and talent to the NFL’s most barren linebacker corps. As it stands now, Kwiatkoski will presumably assume the middle position while Littleton has the versatility to assume either outside linebacker role.

The pair will complement each other well, and will be the heart and soul of a revamped 2020 Raider defense that is not finished acquiring talent in free agency.

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