Four Questions: Is there enough depth at linebacker?
Last season, we saw the linebacker position decimated by injuries and suspensions. Things got thin early in the year when Vontaze Burfict made four starts, and then was lost for the season following a 12-game suspension. Marquel Lee dealt with injuries all year limiting him to five games, as the Raiders lost two of their best options at the position group.
With only Tahir Whitehead, Nicholas Morrow, and Kyle Wilber remaining on the roster, the Raiders went looking in the scrap heap for bodies. A revolving door of linebackers came and went before Will Compton was brought in and provided some consistent play down the stretch.
The linebacker position was by far the weakest link on the defense and it showed on a week-to-week basis. Mike Mayock made it a priority in free agency to bring in some help, adding instant starters in Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski.
Littleton steps in and immediately provides the defense with a legit cover linebacker, something they have lacked for years. Kwiatkoski is a rising star, as he was buried on the depth chart with the Chicago Bears, but will be giving every opportunity as the Raiders every down Mike linebacker.
He will wear the green dot and make all the calls for the defense.
There’s no denying the talent is improved, but you can make an argument that depth is still an issue. Outside of Littleton and Kwiatkoski, the Raiders have Morrow, Lee, and Wilber returning, and rookie Tanner Muse, who is viewed as more of a project at this point.
God forbid an injury occurs, because the Raiders could be heading to the scrap yard once again.