Las Vegas Raiders: 4 early 2022 NFL Draft first-round targets
Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State
They do not call Penn State “Linebacker U” just for kicks. The university continues to put out top-tier linebacking talent almost every season. Enter Brandon Smith, a super athletic, rangy and explosive linebacker looking to continue on the tradition.
He not only fits the scheme as a 4-3 linebacker, but he also has the ability to play any of the linebacking positions. The Raiders struggles at linebacker were apparent this past season, despite the fact the Raiders shelled out significant money on free agents Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski.
The pair did not impress in 2020, but this could also be down to the play calling from former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. With a new system in place, signified by the hiring of Gus Bradley, maybe the pair will improve in their second season in the Silver and Black. Kwiatkoski was actually playing very well before his injury, and Littleton is a proven commodity in the NFL.
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With that being said, the Raiders are not super talented at the linebacking position, and Smith would remedy this issue. If available and if the Raiders linebacker issues continue in 2021, the Raiders could look to the draft to solve this issue. Brandon Smith would surely not be a bad thing in 2022.