The Las Vegas Raiders should save their first-round pick and avoid Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. It’s possible they already have an answer at linebacker, yes, it’s Cory Littleton.
There’s no need to look for outside help
The Raiders need help on defense across the board, there’s no arguing that. However, their biggest need is the hole in their defensive line’s interior. Owusu-Koramoah could end up being an excellent NFL linebacker but Las Vegas should invest that coveted first-round pick elsewhere.
The linebacker corps received upgrades last offseason which bore fruit, particularly, Nick Kwiatkoski. Also, Nicholas Morrow shined with increased playing time in 2020. The other acquisition besides Kwiatkoski was former Los Angeles Ram Cory Littleton. Unfortunately, the 2018 Pro Bowler didn’t exactly shine and instead struggled for essentially the whole season. To his credit, Littleton did look better once Paul Guenther was let go as Raiders defensive coordinator. In the team’s final two games, ’42’ accumulated 14 solo tackles and one tackle for a loss.
Maybe the Raiders should give Littleton another shot?
All things fair, picking up Owusu-Koramoah wouldn’t be the worst thing. As a matter of fact, he was excellent at covering tight ends in college. Though one concern heading into the NFL is his undersized measurables, standing at six-foot-one and weighing 215 pounds. However, his speed makes up for it as he can create havoc in the backfield. Back with the Fighting Irish, he totaled 24.5 tackles for a loss.
New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley could certainly make use of this prospect, considering this track record with the Seattle Seahawks where he coached Bobby Wagner. Maybe the Raiders should hold off and give Littleton another go in 2021. The 2019 version of Littleton was an excellent pass rusher and was effective in coverage.
His Pro Football Focus grades in those departments were eye-popping at 78.2 and 82.3, respectively. There’s no reason why Bradley cant put Littleton in a position to succeed again such as in plays like the one above. The Raiders should invest their first-round in a defensive tackle that will create pressure in the interior, that’s what’s truly missing.
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*Top Photo: Katie Mayers/University of Notre Dame Athletics