New Raiders Role Players: Curtis Lofton

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Oct 26, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints inside linebacker David Hawthorne (57) celebrates with middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) and strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) after an interception against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports


Curtis Lofton will not be the best player on the Raiders defense – that will almost surely be Khalil Mack. He might not even be the second or third best. However, he won’t have to be near the top to effectively fulfill his role. With Lofton’s experience, knowledge, and intensity he will be the perfect glue guy for this Oakland defense.

Lofton needs to only play average to accomplish this, and all current indicators point toward that being a likely possibility. Lofton will benefit from being around a much better front seven than he had to work with last season. With Sio Moore and Khalil Mack on either side of him he won’t have to scramble to cover everything from 2-10 yards deep across the entire field – he’ll be able to focus on his duties directly in front of him. The combination of run-stopping studs Justin Tuck, Mario Edwards, Jr., Dan Williams, and Justin Ellis in front of him will help to alleviate his weakness in the run game.

With former linebackers Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton, Jr. as his coaches, Lofton only stands to grow as a tackler and intelligent linebacker. His personal experience and rapport with his coaches should be a major asset toward his role as a leader and teacher of the rising Oakland Raiders youth. His weaknesses do need to be watched, but the smart money is on Lofton as an overall positive for the Raiders defense and 120+ in the tackle column.