Raiders 2022 NFL Draft: 3 surprise positions Las Vegas may target early
Although I wouldn’t necessarily peg it as a need, seeing how Patrick Graham utilizes a variety of fronts and personnel, the Raiders currently don’t have an every-down linebacker for their current scheme.
I’m sure some are scratching their heads thinking of the 2021 Pro Bowler, wanting to yell “Perryman!” at me through their screen. As much as I don’t doubt Perryman will continue to be a factor next season, things are much different for the 29-year-old. While Perryman made the Pro Bowl last year, that was in a familiar scheme with a front he’s played his entire career in.
With the Raiders now running both a 3-4 and 4-3, and primarily a 3-4 front at that, the career 4-3 MLB Denzel Perryman is going to find himself in unfamiliar territory often – Assuming Graham even elects to use Perryman as a 3-4 ILB.
Las Vegas brought in former Titan Jayon Brown through free agency, who’s almost guaranteed to be one of the two starting ILBs in 3-4 sets. The second 3-4 middle linebacker? Possibly Perryman, who was a star for the Silver and Black last season, or Divine Deablo who’s young enough to be molded into anything Graham wants him to be. If neither of these options suffice, look for it to be taken care of in the draft.
Knowing Perryman, who not only is a career 4-3 MLB but is strictly an up and down linebacker who lacks the versatility needed to be an every-down linebacker for Graham, the attention is turned to Jayon Brown. A few moments ago I claimed Brown is almost guaranteed to be a starting ILB, so what’s the deal with him?
The problem with Brown: As Perryman is a career 4-3 MLB, Brown is a career 3-4 ILB. There’s no versatility here either, and once again Las Vegas is out of luck on a linebacker that can play in both fronts.
To reiterate what I said early on, the Raiders do have the personnel to effectively run both fronts without needing a linebacker who sees the field at all times. Still, there’s no denying having a player with such versatility is helpful, and that’s why a linebacker may be in the cards for Las Vegas early on.