Las Vegas Raiders host veteran linebacker Jaylon Smith

Las Vegas Raiders host multi-year starting linebacker, and Raider Nation hopes a deal gets done

You’ve been begging for a starting-caliber linebacker to join the Silver and Black, Raider Nation, and you may just get your wish. Today, veteran linebacker Jaylon Smith has a visit with the Las Vegas Raiders on his schedule.

Smith, a sure-tackler throughout his career, has a missed-tackle rate of 7.6% from ’17-’22. His 6.6 missed-tackle percentage in 2022 stands tall over Denzel Perryman’s 13.8%, Divine Deablo’s 9.0%, and Robert Spillane’s 7.5%.

The 28-year-old played in New York with the Giants last season, totaling 88 tackles, one sack, and one fumble recovery. Smith also held quarterbacks to a 97.0 passer rating when targeted, which would’ve ranked second among all linebackers on the Raiders’ roster with at least 100 snaps in 2022 – topping Spillane as well.

In comparison to the aforementioned three linebackers, Smith falls notably short against the run. This past season, neither of those three – Perryman, Deablo, and Spillane – earned a grade south of 71 when defending the run, via Pro Football Focus. Smith, on the other hand, had a grade of 62.7 in this category.

That 62.7 grade against the run, which places fourth among all four linebackers, was far-and-away the highest grade Smith has received in his last three campaigns. In 2021, the former Cowboys linebacker finished his season with a mark of 40.4. The year prior, in 2020, his grade on running plays was 47.1.

Like Marcus Peters, Jaylon Smith brings a much-needed veteran presence to the Raiders defense

Fans and analysts league-wide are collectively low on the linebacker core in Sin City. Part of this is a talent issue, but there’s more to it than that. Lack of veterans in the unit is another glaring issue.

Spillane has a mere 16 NFL starts under his belt, and nearly half of his combined career defensive snaps came in 2022. Deablo, a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, has 13 recorded starts.

Smith has totaled a whopping 69 starts throughout his career. That number is 27 higher than all started contests that the entirety of the Raiders linebacker core has totaled (42).

That’s an issue.

It doesn’t have to be an issue, though. The Silver and Black can make the lack of experience disappear by not allowing Jaylon Smith to leave Sin City.

*Top Photo: John Minchillo Credit: AP

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