New Raiders Role Players: Curtis Lofton

1 of 4

Sep 22, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) against the Arizona Cardinals during a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Cardinals 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2015 season nears Raiders fans will increasingly hear some names which may be somewhat unfamiliar. General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Head Coach Jack Del Rio have brought in several veterans in efforts to bolster performance on both sides of the ball and foster the growth of Oakland’s young talent. Few of these veterans are as important as incoming middle linebacker, and expected team captain, Curtis Lofton.

We’ve all heard the cliché before, but it bears repeating (all together now…) – The middle linebacker is the quarterback of the defense. This is exactly the role that Lofton will be expected to play in Del Rio’s defense. Luckily for Raider Nation, this is the role in which Lofton is most comfortable. Lofton was the defensive signal caller in Rob Ryan’s Saints defense along with the Falcons’ defense in his early years. He’s confident and poised in the huddle. He’s spent his entire career looking into offensive backfields, deciphering their intentions, and adjusting accordingly.

It’s not all ice cream and roses with Lofton, however. Lofton was the captain of an atrocious Saints defense in 2014 and didn’t particularly outperform anyone else on that roster. In Oakland, he’ll not only be expected to be a leader, but a mentor – teaching and elevating the play of the young guys around him.

On the upcoming slides we’ll take a brief look at his strengths and weaknesses, then speculate on how he’ll fit in the Raiders’ plans for improvement in the 2015 season.

Next: Weaknesses