Why the Oakland Raiders Should Start Ben Heeney

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Sep 27, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders inside linebacker Ben Heeney (51) stretches during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders should pull the trigger and start rookie Ben Heeney over struggling Curtis Lofton at middle linebacker.

Coming off an 18-13 loss on the road against the Detroit Lions in Week 11, the Oakland Raiders have now lost three consecutive games to push their record down to 4-6. Without a perceptible chance of making the playoffs, Oakland’s coaching staff is assumably turning their focus towards evaluating their young talent and developing their roster in preparation for the 2016 season.

Though finishing the season on a high note with a few wins will still be a priority for head coach Jack Del Rio and company, increasing the amount of play time for some of the Raiders’ younger players down the depth chart will likely take place over the course of the last six games.

For example, rookie inside linebacker Ben Heeney benefited from additional play time in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. Heeney stated his opinion on the idea of increasing his snap count in response to the media earlier this week. 

“It was good,” Heeney said, via Raiders.com. “It was good. I just tried to take advantage of the opportunities I was given, so hopefully I get some more.”

According to Raiders.com, Heeney earned seven total tackles, a sack, one tackle for loss and one pass defensed on 38 defensive snaps. 

Though it’s obvious that Heeney is looking for an increased role within Oakland’s defense, whether or not he starts in the near future has yet to be determined. With that being said, here are three reasons to why Heeney should be named the starter before the end of the season.