Oakland Raiders Should Pursue CFL Tackles Leader Solomon Elimimian
By Chase Ruttig
Aug 17, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; BC Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian (56) makes a tackle on Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Mike Bradwell (88) after a catch at Rogers Centre. BC defeated Toronto 33-17. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Elimimian’s NFL prospects is where a team needing a veteran middle linebacker in the Oakland Raiders comes in as in a depth chart that lacks top talent in the position a look to the CFL could be a steal for a team looking for a low cost, high reward talent that has plenty of experience in a star role over his career.
The Raiders worst defensive position in 2014 was clearly at the MLB spot as the young Miles Burris showed he wasn’t prepared to be an every down player at the position, a role that was forced upon him after veteran Nick Roach sat out the entire season with a concussion. Burris showed talent, but was also one of the worst players at the position per Pro Football Focus, something that was a direct result of having to play an amount of snaps that he was unable to take on at a high level.
Going into the 2015 Offseason the future of Roach is also uncertain as the former Chicago Bears linebacker could be forced into retirement should his serious concussion issues prevent him from being able to safely return to a life of football. If that happens the Raiders would be without a veteran linebacker at the position, and although they could go after one of the top names available in NFL Free Agency, those names will be coming at a high price and will be hard to lure to Oakland as general manager Reggie McKenzie struggled to bring in top tier FA targets last spring.
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Elimimian could solve the problem of adding one veteran middle linebacker and bring something unique in terms of depth to the Raiders should he pan out as a player who has been forced into plenty of pass coverage reps during his four full seasons in the CFL. Realistically Elimimian could be added onto the roster in addition to another free agency signing plus a draft pick outside of the first round to bolster a position that the Raiders really need to improve after a disastrous 2014 at middle linebacker on every level.
With 143 tackles last season and a reputation for being able to make big plays, including getting to the quarterback when needed, the veteran Elimimian is worth a look for McKenzie this offseason. A real opportunity to showcase his talents under a defensive mind like Jack Del Rio could be the opportunity that Elimimian needs to finally show his potential as a diamond in the rough that has dominated at every level he has been given a role in so far in his football career.
It is up to McKenzie to decide if he wants to make a bold move, but the man with 143 tackles in 2014 could be an intriguing name to watch as CFL players make their migration south this offseason. If Elimimian does get one more (and potentially final) opportunity to make a roster as a full-time linebacker, he could continue the trend of CFL players to come into starting roles on NFL defensive units that has exploded over recent years.
With players like Cameron Wake, Brandon Browner, Jerrell Freeman and more proving that the CFL-to-NFL route is one worth exploring for NFL teams, Elimimian has earned one last chance to prove himself as a player who can provide a role as an impact linebacker. It is up to NFL GM’s like Reggie McKenzie to determine if they are willing to make a small risk for a potentially large impact this offseason.