Middlekauff: I Don’t See How The Raiders Don’t Draft A Middle Linebacker

NFL free agency will officially be under way in just over a week. The Raiders have a number of crucial roster decisions to make in the days ahead and one will involve the status of middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Bowman is considered by most to be the top inside linebacker available in free agency and it would seem the Raiders have the inside track on bringing him back.

Even if the Raiders do re-sign Bowman, The Athletic’s John Middlekauff believes the Raiders need to land one of the top inside linebackers – and should be willing to go get that linebacker early in the draft.

Via The Athletic:

“I don’t see how the Raiders don’t take a middle linebacker with their first pick, even if NaVorro Bowman re-signs, since most of the guys in this draft could easily play will right next to him for a year or two… it’s time for the Raiders to take a linebacker early. No way around it. It’s been a glaring hole, on a bad unit, and there is finally someone who can fill the void for a decade. Smith is easily one of my favorite players in the draft and it would be good to see him in Silver and Black come the fall.”

Smith continues to be the popular name being linked to the Raiders in the draft and the fit seems almost too perfect.

With so few options in free agency and considering what a clean prospect Smith appears to be, the Raiders should be more than satisfied if they can walk away from the first round with the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus Award (top NCAA linebacker) winner all in one pick.

Now lets see if Smith even falls to the 10th pick where the Raiders have a chance to draft him.

For what it’s worth, here are a few popular names that could be available when the Raiders are on the clock… and who you think the Raiders should draft…

twitter: @raidersbeat

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7 thoughts on “Middlekauff: I Don’t See How The Raiders Don’t Draft A Middle Linebacker

  1. Reggie McKensie is clearly a Ron Wolf disciple right? Doesn’t that mean you never draft an ILB in the first round? Will Chucky force him? If so would Trumaine Edmunds be the pick and not the undersized Roquan Smith who might not be able to tackle bigger RB?

  2. Reggie McKensie is clearly a Ron Wolf disciple right? Doesn’t that mean you never draft an ILB in the first round? Will Chucky force him? If so would Trumaine Edmunds be the pick and not the undersized Roquan Smith who might not be able to tackle bigger RB?

  3. Tremaine Edmunds or Vea for me. Both have more positional value. Edmunds has a size advantage can play ILB, OLB and rush the passer. Smith is a better player right now but Edmunds is only 19. Vea is so unique. If the Raiders stay at #10 any of those 3 would be good picks but I would add that the Raiders could find a ILB later in the draft – VanderEsch or Darius Leonard whereas finding a EDGE rusher would be much more difficult. This draft is strong with DT’s and CB’s.

  4. Vea is the right choice. He is big strong and athletic. He could give the interior line a reputation of NASTY and will help Mack get back to real dominance. This will help the cover guys. Resign Carrie and Bowman. Look to draft ILB or corner in round 2 and RB in round 3. This formula will send Raider Nation back to post season play.

  5. I don’t see how they don’t keep the one we got, he was GREAT. Also, I don’t see why we haven’t got one in the last few years. Also, wtf Goodell. If Aldon Smith was back with the Raiders and had support these last few years, he may have stayed clean. Speaking of linebackers…

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