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.
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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