Las Vegas Raiders: Predicting winners of top 6 training camp battles
No. 3, 4 and 5 Linebackers
Top Competitors Vying for Spots: Nicholas Morrow, Marquel Lee, Kyle Wilber, Tanner Muse, Javin White
What if I told you Nicholas Morrow will remain as the only holdover from last year’s linebacker group? That’s a strong possibility.
We can’t really say the No. 3 spot is reserved for a strong-side linebacker. If necessary, Kwiatkoski can line up on the outside as well. Because of his size (6’2″, 243 lbs), he could play in multiple spots across the second level. Think of him in the same mold as Tahir Whitehead but with the ability to cover on passing downs.
Going into his fourth term, Morrow is still someone to develop and perhaps use in space or as a designated blitzer.
The team placed Marquel Lee on the physically unable to perform list without a clear word on the severity of his injury. Gruden isn’t patient with guys who don’t practice—just ask Obi Melifonwu. Lee has played far fewer defensive snaps than Morrow (1,696-689) in their three pro years together.
In an offseason with limited time to prepare for the regular season, Lee’s position seems in doubt unless he’s back on the field soon. The Raiders selected Tanner Muse in the third round and signed Javin White as one of their few undrafted pickups.
Muse and White can push for snaps in the nickel package and play on special teams. Both have a collegiate safety background, which is an appealing quality for a linebacker in today’s game. Lee hasn’t garnered the coaching staff’s trust in that area. He’s allowed 20 receptions for 152 yards on 27 targets.
General manager Mike Mayock expects Muse to play on special teams. The Clemson product will also learn inside and outside linebacker roles. With him on kick coverage, Kyle Wilber seems expendable.
The Raiders completely flip their linebacker unit in favor of youth and versatility.
Predictions: No. 3 LB: Morrow, No. 4 LB: Muse, No. 5 LB White