The Las Vegas Raiders upgraded their linebacker group this offseason, and big things are expected from free agent Nick Kwiatkoski.
Heading into the 2020 NFL offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders knew they needed to get better at a number of positions on both sides of the ball. However, one could argue that linebacker was priority No. 1, and the team addressed that in a big way during free agency.
The signings of both Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton completely revamp a group that was an absolute liability last season. Vontaze Burfict was suspended after only four games, and Tahir Whitehead was terrible in coverage, something that the opposition picked on on a weekly basis.
With Kwiatkoski and Littleton atop the depth chart, the Raiders have a solid veterans who can flat out cover, something they are going to definitely need when you look at the gauntlet of starting quarterbacks they will have to face in 2020.
Nick Kwiatkoski projected to be most improved Raider
NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund recently named one player from each AFC team that they feel will be the most improved in 2020, and Nick Kwiatkoski was the Raiders player they picked. This is a guy who is going to wear the green dot in Paul Guenther’s defense this season, so him being the most improved player on the roster would be a perfect scenario.
Frelund stated that Kwiatkoski started only eight games last season, and while he will not be playing on a defense that features the likes of Khalil Mack, this was a great deal for the Raiders.
"Signing Kwiatkoski was a very smart offseason move for Las Vegas, though, as I expect them to quickly see his three-year, $21 million contract pay off."
There was a ton of hype when the team signed Littleton, who is widely regarded as one of the better cover linebackers in the game. However, Kwiatkoski brings a ton of talent to the position group as well, and for the first time in a long time, the Raiders appear to have a strength at linebacker.
Kwiatkoski is only 27-years old, and is entering the prime of his NFL career, so the fact that the Raiders locked him up for the next three years is big for the defense moving forward. He racked up 76 tackles, with eight of them for a loss last season, which is big production from a guy who only started eight games.