Raiders roster: 5 position battles to watch during 2021 training camp
4th LB – Javin White, Tanner Muse, Divine Deablo
The Raiders have three very good linebackers on the roster in Nick Kwiatkoski, Cory Littleton, and Nicholas Morrow, who all have starting roles locked down. Morrow was the star of the group in 2020, despite being the least heralded member, but both Kwiatkoski and Littleton played better down the stretch under Rod Marinelli.
After those three names, the other linebacker spots are up for grabs, and three young men are competing for being the first guy off the bench. Interestingly enough, all three are converted safeties and played all over the field for their respective teams at the college level.
Tanner Muse was a fourth-round selection in 2020, but injuries kept him from stepping on the field, so he will be itching to make an impact on defense and special teams. Muse is a self-described “special teams war daddy” and his straight-line speed and aggression could make him a nice replacement for Kyle Wilber, who made a career almost exclusively off special teams play.
Javin White was an UDFA last season, and spent much of the year on the practice squad, but was activated late in the season for some cameo appearances. The Raiders are high on White, but he could be on the bubble since he did join the team as a free agent rather than as a draft pick.
Rounding out the group is 2021 third-round draft pick, Divine Deablo, who has yet to participate in offseason activities, but should be ready for training camp per Jon Gruden. He could face a similarly steep learning curve as Muse did in 2020, but he has the benefit of a normal training camp to learn the linebacker position.
He could also focus on special teams and contribute there initially.
The Raiders have three exciting young players who all look fantastic on paper, but have yet to make an impact on the NFL level. It will be interesting to see which players step up in camp and preseason and which players end up being more sizzle than steak at the NFL level.