The Oakland Raiders brought in more veteran talent at the linebacker position this offseason, and they will be leaned on heavily in 2019.
Last offseason, the Oakland Raiders went out and got veteran linebacker Tahir Whitehead, who was fresh off another 100-tackle season for the Detroit Lions. In his first season in the Silver and Black, Whitehead started out slow, proving to be a liability in coverage, but really came on towards the end of the season.
As the calendar switches to the 2019 season, general manager Mike Mayock was busy adding more talent to the linebacker group. This offseason, Mayock brought in two veteran linebackers to join Whitehead, bringing in Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall, two guys who should have a major impact in Oakland.
For Burfict, he is reunited with Paul Guenther, who was his defensive coordinator during his best years in Cincinnati. Burfict has had more than his fair share of issues during his NFL career, but the change of scenery should be a good thing for him, as he looks to get his career back on track.
Marshall will stay in the AFC West, as he previously was a star for the Denver Broncos. He is the kind of guy who could rack up 100 tackles easily if he can stay healthy, and when you team him with Whitehead and Burfict, the Raiders have a solid trio at the top of their depth chart when it comes to the linebacker position.
Burfict is only 28 years old, and while he has been solid in his career, he does have only one Pro Bowl appearance. Since starting 16 games during his Pro Bowl season in 2013, Burfict has not appeared in more than 11 games in a season, mostly due to suspensions.
In Marshall, the Raiders are getting a guy with a championship pedigree, as he was a member of that Denver Broncos defense that led the team to a Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl 50. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2014, Marshall has three seasons over 100 tackles, and would have five, but he appeared in only 11 games in 2016 and last season.
There are some solid younger veterans on this roster as well, including guys like Nicholas Morrow, Marquel Lee, and Jason Cabinda. Overall, this is a much better group than the one who took the field in 2018, and with veterans at the top, this Raiders defense should be improved on the second level of their defense in 2019.