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Raiders Ideal Linebacker Prospect in 3rd Round

Raiders Blog: The Silver and Black strategically began the overhaul of one of the worst linebacker groups in 2019 when they acquired two defenders that are on the verge of entering their prime.

Both Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski offer stability of the position for years to come, but the Raiders cannot assume repair of the group is complete just yet.

Raiders Blog: Just Getting Started

These free agency signings were long overdue considering that the last notable (more than a one year contract) addition at the position was Tahir Whitehead in 2018. Despite the influx of talent, a third starter at linebacker is still needed. Marquel Lee, Nicholas Morrow, and Kyle Wilber are the only experienced options on the roster to fill the void. Each may suffice as short term solutions, but seeking long term stability to match the three year contracts of Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton would be ideal.

Related: Raiders Hit Jackpot In Recent Mock

With their recent splurge at the position, it is unlikely the team opts to select a linebacker in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft with pressing needs at cornerback and wide receiver. Because the Raiders don’t have any second round selections (barring trades), the team will have to wait until the third round to add another linebacker. Reluctantly, there is one prospect that fits the mold.

Troy Dye – Oregon Ducks

A decorated 4-year starter for the Oregon Ducks, Dye was initially a three star safety recruit from Norco High School in California. He seamlessly made the transition to linebacker at the collegiate level and never looked back. At 6’3″ and 210 pounds, his combination of athleticism and length made him one of the most dominant players on his program’s defense. His numbers (2017-2019 seasons) speak volumes.

  • 2,606 total defensive snaps
  • 259 snaps utilized as a pass rusher
  • 1,092 snaps as a run defender
  • 1,264 snaps in pass coverage

Pass Rushing Ability

As a pass rusher, Dye amassed 13 sacks in four years. As a member of an even front defense, his responsibility was primarily at the second level in terms of pass coverage. When tasked to blitz in passing situations, His relentless motor helped the Ducks defense put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In 2019 alone, he amassed 26 pressures on 107 total pass rushing snaps.

Pass Coverage

Outside of Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons, Dye is the best prospective linebacker in terms of pass coverage prowess in the 2020 draft class.

Dye accomplished more than just holding his own in coverage, he also had five interceptions in his 4-year collegiate career. The most impressive one, was completed with only one functional hand.

On top of his ball skills, his toughness knows no bounds.

High Motor

Speaking of toughness, Dye played every game in the last three years. In 2019, Dye broke his thumb in the first quarter against Washington. He remained in the game and played with a medically protected wrap (club) on his hand and still managed to produce at a high level. Not to mention, he went on to play the remainder of the season with a broken thumb.

He does not shy from any challenge, and his opponent’s acknowledged him as one of the fiercest competitors in college football. Utah’s starting running back, Zack Moss, verified Troy’s tenacity at the 2020 NFL Combine.

Dye was the catalyst behind the majority of game changing defensive plays for Oregon in 2019.

Playmaker

Dye’s last game with the Ducks was the 2019’s Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. On the final stage of his collegiate career, he tallied nine total tackles along with a key forced fumble in a win against Wisconsin.

Most importantly, his infectious football spirit will be missed by many around Eugene, Oregon on game days.

What He Brings to the Raiders

Troy Dye is the versatile linebacker that the Raiders could use to complete the young trio at the second level on defense. He projects favorably as a special teamer before receiving considerable playing time at outside linebacker. Lee and Morrow offer can afford him to sit on the bench instead of being rushed into starting immediately. Should Las Vegas select him, his athleticism and competitive spirit will not keep him on the bench for long.

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