2021 NFL mock draft: Las Vegas Raiders add an elite linebacker
By Evan Groat
The Las Vegas Raiders addressed many needs during the 2020 free agency period, as well as the draft, but if there is an area where they could still use some help it’s at linebacker. Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski are major upgrades, but after the two of them it’s Marquel Lee, Nicholas Morrow, and Kyle Wilber.
Micah Parsons may not possess the elite sideline to sideline speed we have seen from linebackers coming out in the past, but he has great size at 245 pounds and instincts that you need for the position. The Raiders are close to being a playoff team, and Parsons could do some serious damage on this defense, but if they are picking in the top-10, something went wrong this season.
Heading into the 2020 college football season, Walker Little will be returning from a season-ending knee injury he suffered in the opener from a year go. Wisely, he decided to return to Stanford for his senior year to prove he is healthy.
In two full seasons with the Cardinal, Walker has proven to be a plus-run blocker and dependable as a pass protector. If Little can show the knee injury is behind him, expect to hear his name called early on day one.
Ohio State has been a defensive back factory, producing a number of first round picks in recent years. Shaun Wade was playing in the shadow of 2020 first round selections Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette a year ago, but the spotlight will be on him to shine this year as the Buckeyes shutdown corner.
Wade played primarily in the slot in 2019, but has the size and skill to move to the outside where he will excel. The Broncos have some talented defensive backs, and in Wade, they get another guy to solidify the unit for the foreseeable future.
Patrick Peterson is entering the final year of his contract and will turn 30 years of age in July. As of now, the Cardinals have not made a move to extend beyond this season. If the two sides can not get a deal done then expect the Cardinals to look to replace him in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Patrick Surtain III would be an ideal replacement. On defenses loaded with NFL talent the last two seasons Surtain found a way to get on the field as a young player and make plays. Arizona is a year or two away from being a contender in the NFC, and Surtain has star written all over him.