No position group for the Las Vegas Raiders has seen more upheaval this offseason than the linebackers.
Here are the previous entries to the series:
The Raiders let Vontaze Burfict, Tahir Whitehead, and Will Compton all walk after the 2019 season. Last year, Whitehead led all Raiders linebackers in defensive snap count, playing a whopping 941 snaps. Compton (245 snaps) and Burfict (191 snaps) were third and fourth respectively, despite neither of them playing for large chunks of the season. Clearly intent on overhauling this unit, the team added Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski this past free agency. Then, they drafted Tanner Muse.
Here’s how the depth chart might shape up with this new-look linebacker corps.
- Nick Kwiatkoski
- Kyle Wilbur
- Te’von Coney
- Cory Littleton
- Marquel Lee
- Tanner Muse
- Te’von Coney
All three new additions should figure to play key roles this season. Kwiatkoski will wear the green dot on his helmet and assume the MIKE linebacker responsibilities. Littleton is a versatile outside linebacker who can play both the WILL and SAM positions. On early downs, I expect him to play the weak side while Lee plays the strong side. On passing downs, he will probably come off while Littleton shifts to SAM and Muse comes on to play WILL.
With Muse in the fold, Morrow likely becomes obsolete. I do not see him making the team. Kyle Wilbur figures to return to the team as a backup since he has experience calling the defense. The last spot likely comes down to second year player Te’von Coney and rookie Javin White. Coney’s experience and ability to play both inside and out should earn him the nod. White, a UNLV product, should be easy to stash on the practice squad. Remember, these projections are based on the current roster. If the aforementioned depth linebackers look shaky during camp, do not be surprised if the team brings back Will Compton, who the coaching staff was very fond of.
41 spots down, 12 to go. Up next, we will look at the defensive backs.
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*Top Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
All stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com