The Morning After: Oakland Raiders Options for Round 2

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Dec 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Louisville Cardinals running back Dominique Brown (10) is hit by Miami Hurricanes linebacker Denzel Perryman (52) during the Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

4. Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami

Denzel Perryman was and still is widely considered the best of a pretty thin group of interior linebackers in this draft, although Eric Kendricks out of UCLA and Preston Smith out of TCU also have fans. A short, stout, powerful big-hitting linebacker, Perryman is a throwback, and excels at the most important job of an old-school Mike linebacker: shutting down the run. He’s 5’11” and 236 pounds with exceptional upper-body strength and lower-body explosion and on tape can explode into and stonewall much larger blockers, then shed and make plays on the inside. Unfortunately he’s not particularly quick with his feet, and struggles to make plays on the perimeter and is susceptible to false steps. He’s also a complete liability in pass coverage, and is probably a 2-down linebacker who would leave the field on passing downs.

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  • The Raiders already have a 2-down run thumping linebacker on the roster in Curtis Lofton, who will be 29 this season, but there is really no backup behind Lofton right now, and Lofton is obviously not in the long term plans. The Raiders have also spent a little bit of time with Perryman in the pre-draft process, which may be an indication of interest or may not be. Perryman could be developed into a very solid starting NFL middle linebacker, albeit one who comes off the field on 3rd and long, and could also provide quality depth at a position that the Raiders simply did not have a body for when Nick Roach went down last year.

    Next: Friday Players to Watch: Preston Smith