Was It Smart For Raiders To Put All Their Eggs In One Basket?

Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock answered fans’ prayers when he heavily invested in the linebacker position during NFL free agency. There’s only one problem, did he put all his eggs on two players defensively?

The Raiders entered the NFL Draft clearly needing offensive help. The wide receiver room was lacking both speed and talent in general, but Raiders general manager Mike Mayock’s ability to focus on the offense was made easier by his free agency acquisitions. The team signed Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton, both of which are huge upgrades over what the Raiders have had in their defense’s second level.

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The upgrades themselves aren’t the issue, but rather the fact they didn’t add more linebacker depth in the draft. It seems Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden opted to load up on offense and give their offense multiple possibilities with the talent they chose. As one NFL executive alluded to recently via The Athletic, perhaps the team isn’t building up their depth correctly.

“(Henry) Ruggs is fine because he’s clean, he’s a speed guy, but three receivers early?” an evaluator said. “Edwards is a solid pick if healthy. I’m sure the mad scientist in (Jon) Gruden is excited about Wildcat possibilities with Bowden or possibly three guys that can throw at the same time with (Marcus Mariota) and Bowden in the same backfield with (Derek) Carr, but I’m not sure about building depth on the roster. Are you putting all your eggs in the Nick Kwiatkoski/Cory Littleton basket on defense?”

Let’s not forget the Raiders did pick up Tanner Muse from Clemson, so it would appear maybe the team’s hoping he can make the linebacker transition smoothly. Another short-term solution would be to bring back Will Compton. Perhaps Mayock can visit the idea of a linebacker higher in the draft board next year.

When the season does begin, it seems the Raiders defense and their linebackers corps will go as far as Littleton and Kwiatkoski can take them.

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*Top Photo: Peter Aiken/Getty Images

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Mario

I really don’t understand the big concern. To me it’s very simple. Is the lb corps leagues ahead of where they were last year? Yes. Last year the nickel backers were Morrow, Whitehead and later Compton. Replace those 2 with Littleton and Kwiatkowski and how is that not a major improvement? With Morrow or Lee for 3rd lb situations and that will raise their value and here’s why, they will have specialized smaller roles they can focus on. 3rd string roles for 3rd string players. Not in situations above their talent like starting. Less time on the field in crucial… Read more »

chris amsden

Shoulda drafter the LB Edge guy, with the weird name but who is supposed to be a great player, drafted at #20 with our #19 pick; he could rush, cover pass and run. Would rounded out our LB position with the other 2 great new LBs secured in FA for this season. And packed one of our 3s with a 3 or a 4 or 5, whatever, to get Arnett in the 2nd round. We overpaid, regarding value of picks when we took Arnett with the 19. And missed out on the LB above. Not impressed with Mayock Gruden team!

Anonymous

Why dident you mention Carl Nassib ??? We picked up 3 lbs in free agency and drafted 1 and also signed 2 UDFA ??? If your gona write news why cant you delever all the facts instead of just trying to wing it come on man be professional

Knight62

We have seen what lack of depth at linebacker did to the team last season. What do we have if either or both of our new linebackers get injured? We would be right back where we were last year.