The inside linebacker position has been one of much debate for the Raiders this season. Though McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio used to play the position professionally, it had been a bottleneck in this defense until NaVorro Bowman‘s arrival in Week 7. The veteran inside linebacker will be a free agent this spring.
Sure, the Raiders could bring back Bowman into the fold, but he’s not a long-term solution at the position at this stage of his career. While he has done a great job in helping undrafted rookie free agent Nicholas Morrow develop as a pro, are the Raiders really ready to hand over the keys to Marquel Lee again?
This looks to be one of the better inside linebacker drafts in quite some time. The position has been devalued in recent years due to the game becoming increasingly passing centric. However, guys like Deion Jones and Zach Cunningham are like the new prototypes of what is expected out of the position. Maybe there is a guy that McKenzie fancies to play the position for the Raiders going forward in this draft class?
Inside linebacker could be one of those position groups that the Raiders could use a first-round pick on. Who knows if Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Roquan Smith will even be available at that point of the draft? All we know is this looks to be a good draft for the position, so the Raiders best take advantage of that and take a guy in the first four rounds.