Oakland Raiders Offseason Needs: Linebacker
Nov 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders lineabcker Sio Moore (55) celebrates after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
At the Left Outside Linebacker position, finding a true starter might not be as imperative as finding a solid rotational player to add depth, given the reports that Moore should be ready to play next season. Though if someone is able to come in and be legitimate competition to Moore, that would only help the group out. Dan Skuta from San Francisco could be a cheap backup option if he hits the open market. His numbers don’t just off the stat sheet at you, but that’s because he played less than 400 snaps last season, but the snaps he played were very productive.
Providing 4 sacks, and 9 QB pressures Skuta was able to come in and contribute when asked to. His coverage skills are pretty consistent, plays much like Spikes in that he’ll let the receiver catch the balls, but he doesn’t give up very many yards after the catch.
If true competition for Moore is what Reggie is looking to bring in, Jason Worilds from Pittsburgh might be a great choice. He had a few bad games last year, but overall he played lights out. He’d be a great complimentary edge rusher on the other side of Mack.
Worilds put up 8 sacks, 16 hits, and 28 hurries last season. Talk about being a terror on quarterbacks. In run defense he contributed 41 tackles for a loss or no gain, and in coverage he does a good enough jab that in 1000+ snaps that he took last season, he was only thrown at 13 times.
While Worilds isn’t a name being talked about as a high profile free agent, he is a guy who could be brought in to add quality depth to the Outside Linebacker position, and between Mack, Moore and Worilds they’d be able to have enough rotation that they could stay fresh the whole game.
In the draft, I’m all about Nate Orchard out of Utah. He’s a versatile defensive weapon, groomed in high school as a Wide Receiver was converted to Linebacker in college. Orchard set the Utah school record his Senior year in college with 18.5 sacks. His speed makes him a nightmare for tackles to handle coming out of a 3-4, though he could use a bit more muscle to handle some of take on the better tackles in a 4-3 set.
I think he’s a perfect fit for the Raiders because Mack would be coming from one side, engaging the Left Tackle, (usually the best offensive lineman on the team) so Orchard would have a bit of a lighter work load going up against Right Tackles most of the time. Being a former receiver, he would also be a constant interception threat in the flat, and have a good idea on how to read routs to his side. He’s got the versatility to set up on the line with his hand in the dirt as well, just to give the defense even more potential looks.
With the rumors going around right now, its looking more and more likely that the Raiders could fill a big time Defensive Tackle need and add an offensive weapon in the passing game with Terrance Knighton, and Julius Thomas from Denver, the Raiders may be able to be more flexible in the draft process and take care of positions lower on their needs list in the 2nd round.