Whether we remain in the 4-3 or convert to 3-4, we need to take a hard look at our LBs and figure what needs to be done to climb out of the hole we're in against the rush.
Our 1st Rounder, Death Ro, showed steady progress over the season and put some devastating hits on smaller RBs and WRs but also on larger targets - FBs and TEs. I'm confident McClain will only improve under Biekert and our new DC.
Warden Wimbley proved himself the QB slayer he was billed to be in college and as a rookie 5 years ago. Under Mike Waufle, Kamerion was positioned on the edges and slashed through gaps on stunts and blitzes that wreaked havoc in backfields.
Travis Goethel returned from back surgery to show some of the fierce play that he dazzled Oakland fans with during the preseason. Go-to-Hell, has an instinct for the ball and plays the middle like a young version of Dick Butkus. I have a lot of confidence in him and expect him to have a break-out season.
Thomas Howard, now in his 6th year, did not see much action on D (for some reason) but did play well on STs. Howard is a reliable OLB in passing situations though sometimes struggled against the rush.
The Drut squad:
Ricky Brown is really not a very good player. He is slow and lacks most of the football instincts one expects from a professional. Brown mostly played STs last season and managed to get a total of one (1) tackle on STs all season. He did have 2 assists and recovered a couple of fumbles. When he did come in, e.g. Jacksonville, he was worthless.
"San Quentin" Groves, the 3rd member of the pre-ordained "Cell Block" was disappointing. While Groves does hit hard he is also poor in pass coverage and gets blocked out of plays on a regular basis. Oakland ranked #29 against the Rush last season and Groves play on the weak-side should receive due credit for the huge contribution to the Raiders abysmal rushing defense.
Sam Williams, a perennial survivor on the roster, enters his 9th year. While Sam still contributes significantly on STs, we have to consider whether it is time to thank him for his contribution and move on.
Bruce Davis, Jr. - someone fill me in.
Whether we go to a 3-4 or remain as we are, we need one or two Linebackers, i.e. Outsider LBs, who are run stoppers. My preference would be the best available in the 2nd or, no later than, 3rd round. Rush Defense is still our top priority if we are to make it to the playoffs and do something once we get there.