Johnson and Whitehead
The linebacker position for the Oakland Raiders was another weaknesses last season, though they did get a boost once NaVorro Bowman came over from the San Francisco 49ers. Still, the unit as a whole was very weak, and it was an area that Gruden really targeted this offseason when bringing in pieces.
One of the first to sign with the Raiders at linebacker was Tahir Whitehead, who is coming off a season that saw him rack up 120 tackles for the Detroit Lions. He was initially expected to take over for Bowman on the interior of the defense, but that job could go to the man who was signed later in the offseason.
That man is Derrick Johnson, who comes to the Raiders after being an absolute legend with the Kansas City Chiefs. He has the leadership skills needed to play middle linebacker in Paul Guenther’s 4-3 scheme, and despite his age, he has looked very agile and fast during the workouts this spring and summer.
All of a sudden, the Raiders have two very good tacklers at the linebacker position, and while the third spot is up in the air, Johnson and Whitehead are almost guaranteed to be starters if they hold serve. The Raiders defense looked like Swiss Cheese at times last season, so adding players like Johnson and Whitehead could make the middle of the defense a strength for once.