Cory James Headed For A Prominent Role On Raiders Defense

The Raiders haven’t shown a lot in the way of defense through two preseason games, but there has been a bright spot or two.

One of those bright spots has been second-year linebacker Cory James.

James, who posted a 15-tackle game last year against Baltimore, is the Raiders leading tackler (13) in preseason. He also looks like the most reliable tackler the Raiders have at linebacker (assuming Khalil Mack is a defensive end).

While rookie Marquel Lee has struggled getting off blocks and taking good pursuit angles (albeit at a different position), James has shown excellent instincts – particularly defending the run.

James was the AFC West’s top-performing linebacker in week one based on Pro Football Focus’ player grades – a solid achievement for player primarily used as an edge rusher two years ago at Colorado State.

James’ play leveled off some in week two against the Rams, but he still recorded six tackles – good for second-best on the team.

One question going forward, will the Raiders consider moving James back to inside linebacker and bump Jelani Jenkins into a first-team role at WLB?

There’s also the option of finding a starter-quality middle linebacker when roster cuts are made, but that won’t happen until September 2 – a week before the regular season opener.

Whatever general manager Reggie McKenzie decides, the stakes will be high in week one when the Raiders face a quarterback in Marcus Mariota that will put heavy pressure on the linebackers.

twitter: @raidersbeat

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1 thought on “Cory James Headed For A Prominent Role On Raiders Defense

  1. Gotta do something at MLB. Won’t last the season without one. Unless the defensive line can step up with pressure up the middle. TE’s will feast on us without one. Get Riley back. At least he held his own with only a half season under his belt.

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