High expectations are coming out of Oakland this upcoming season. After a complete team tear down last season, this is the first real year of Gruden's highly anticipated Raider rebuild. The Raiders have already made so many changes this year going on a total shopping spree in free agency picking up Corner Lamarcus Joyner, o-lineman Trent Brown, and few linebackers and even more wide receivers including the nice addition of Antonio Brown through trade giving Derek Carr all the options he didn't have last season. But despite all these moves, if the Raiders don't come in clutch for the draft, it will be another laughable year for the silver and black.
The Raiders Need to Draft a Defensive Leader
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We don't expect anyone to come out of college and just be great from day one, but the Raiders need to draft guys that hold a lot of promise for future years. I see just too many mock drafts having the Raiders picking the next best pass rusher often in Josh Allen or Quinnen Williams. But the way I see it, if it's not Nick Bosa then it's not worth it. If a franchise is trying to do a complete turn around such as the Raiders then why would anyone settle for the third or fourth best pass rusher with such an early pick in the draft when they can pick another need that is top ranked in that position
Now who do you build your offense around, who should be the leader? The quarterback of course, or in other words the signal caller. So wouldn't it be sensible to build around the signal caller on defense? They Raiders need the young leader of the future in the middle of the defense. I say you pick up Devin White, who is the best middle linebacker in this draft by far. This draft class is already riddled with so many great defensive lineman the Raiders can pick up one of them late in the first round, but White is some top tier talent and I see his chances of being a bust as slim to none.
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At the combine, White recorded the fastest forty-yard dash among all linebackers, and it really shows on the field being a sideline to sideline type of player. With his speed and ability to read plays, he has proven to be very dangerous in the backfield almost knowing exactly where the ball is going. It is very evident that White watches plenty of film, he studies the game and watches his opponents play. That resulted in over 280 total tackles and over thirty of those were made in the backfield in his three years at LSU.
The Raiders have been lacking leadership on defense for years. Even in the Raiders playoff run in 2016, they still had one of the worst defenses in the league. Elite Leadership isn't found on the defensive line. Even with Mack on the field, he wasn't a leader, he was just good at his job. He didn't make the players around him any better. And he definitely wasn't the one making the calls on defense.
White can be the Raiders defensive leader of the future, especially learning under all the veteran linebackers the Raiders picked up this off season. We haven't seen a solid combination of size, speed, and football IQ since Luke Kuechly who is a prime example of leadership on defense. And with Devin White at middle linebacker they can really start making some changes. Don't mess it up Raider Nation, draft this man!
- Isaac Lingelbach