As can be said for essentially the entire Las Vegas Raiders defense, there have been some issues in recent years. It’s been a very, very long time since the Raiders had a successful linebacker core. With that said, there have been some bright spots at the position recently. The Raiders still have Denzel Perryman, Divine Deablo, and some other standouts in the linebacker room, but for the defense to get better as a whole, this unit will need to be improved. Here are three free agent linebackers that could help Las Vegas in 2023.
Raiders’ Option No. 1: Lavonte David
Lavonte David has been in the league for quite some time now, and he’ll be 33 during the 2023 season. That age suggests his prime is likely behind him, yet the fact that David has remained impressive despite his rising age can’t be questioned.
Ideal start for Lavonte David ðŸ˜¤
— NFL (@NFL) December 6, 2022
David has been a very important piece on a successful Tampa Bay defense. He finished the season with 124 tackles, his highest total since all the way back in 2015. With that high number, David had a missed tackle percentage of just 6.8 percent, which is simply terrific. David literally made almost every single tackle he attempted and was more than solid in coverage as well. He has spent his whole career in Tampa Bay, but with an era coming to an end there, it may be time to find another home. His presence on this defense would be an instant upgrade.
Raiders’ Option No. 2: Tremaine Edmunds
If the Raiders want to go with a younger option, Edmunds is the right choice. Tremaine will be 25 next season, and he’s entering free agency for the first time. Edmunds is a terrific athlete, and his skill set would be very helpful to the Raiders’ defense. Edmunds is easily one of the best free agent linebackers in this class.
Tremaine Edmunds with the MASSIVE hit ðŸ˜³ pic.twitter.com/Xnfb31CKzG
— PFF (@PFF) January 15, 2023
Tackling has always been Tremaine’s strong suit. The young linebacker finished the 2022 season with 102 tackles and missed tackle percentage of just one percent. However, Edmunds made major strides in pass coverage for the first-time last season. He allowed a completion percentage of 65%, the lowest in his career, and a solid number for an off-ball linebacker. Throughout the 13 games he played, Edmunds allowed just 134 air yards.
Raiders’ Option No. 3: David Long
David Long is one of the more underrated linebackers in this year’s free agent class. The young, former Titans’ linebacker will be hitting the market for the first time, similar to Edmunds. Long will be 27 next season and should be on Las Vegas’ radar. His price tag will likely be cheaper than David’s and Edmund’s as well.
Long was a full-time starter in 2022 for the first time in his career, but he did miss some games due to injuries. Due to that fact, his stats don’t necessarily jump off the charts. Still, though, he easily passes the eye test. Long is excellent in the run game, and he is explosive when rushing the passer as well. Long is a well-rounded, young player on the rise and is one of this year’s best free agent linebackers.
*Top Photo: Buffalo Rumblings