Linebacker (6): Tahir Whitehead, Derrick Johnson, Emmanuel Lamur, Nicholas Morrow, Marquel Lee, Azeem Victor
Another position group that needed an overhaul this offseason was linebacker, where the Raiders brought in a bunch of new faces. Guys like Tahir Whitehead and Derrick Johnson are proven commodities in the NFL, and both will be expected to take on a huge role on this defense in 2018.
Whitehead and Johnson are both excellent tacklers, which is something this unit has been missing in recent years. Bruce Irvin is making the move to the defensive end position full-time, which means guys like Nicholas Morrow and Emmanuel Lamur are going to have to fight it out for that third starting spot on Guenther’s 4-3 defense.
Azeem Victor was a nice grab in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and he will provide excellent depth at the middle linebacker position. Marquel Lee is another guy who can fill a bunch of roles, giving the Raiders their best group of talent they have had at linebacker in a long time.
Defensive Line (10): Bruce Irvin, Khalil Mack, Mario Edwards Jr., Eddie Vanderdoes, Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall, Justin Ellis, Arden Key, Treyvon Hester, Tank Carradine
The Raiders will be moving to a 4-3 defense this season, which means somebody has to step up and start next to Justin Ellis in the middle of the defensive line. Oakland spent two draft picks on the defensive tackle position in P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst, so they took care of a serious lack of depth heading into the offseason.
Hurst looks like an NFL starter, and had it not been for a heart issue detected at the NFL Scouting Combine, he would have been a first round pick. Hall is starting camp on the PUP list, but he should be ready to go in time to make the 53-man roster out of camp. Eddie Vanderdoes is also starting on the PUP list, as he tries to make it back from an ACL tear in Week 17 of last season.
On the edges, Khalil Mack will once again lead the way, that is if he ever makes it to camp. As stated earlier, Irvin is moving to the edge full-time this season, giving the Raiders an elite tandem at the position. 2018 draft pick Arden Key is also an elite player at getting after the quarterback, and it will be interesting to see how Guenther uses him in year one.