The Oakland Raiders are nerve-rackingly thin at linebacker. Wimbley, McClain, Goethel, Groves and that is about it. There are other LBs currently on the roster, but none that have any business being on the roster come Week One, and Groves probably wouldn't make a lot of rosters. The Raiders also have Trevor Scott and Jarvis Moss who have spent time at linebacker, but they are no longer linebackers for a reason.
This group is just not going to cut it, but have no fear. There are still some solid options available in free agency. We already know the Raiders are at least open to bringing in a new LB. They talked with Lofa Tatupu, and are reportedly still in play for his services. There is no reason this search has to stop at Tatupu.
ESPN has a list of most of the free agent linebackers available. The first name that jumps out, and has been discussed often here is Kirk Morrison. I have to believe that the longer he is available the more likely this reunion becomes. If the Raiders continue to be unconcerned about the coverage skills of their LBs than Kirk very well may be the guy.
However, the fact that they brought in Lofa tells me that they are at least interested in looking at a guy with coverage skills. Jump over for some candidates....
Pisa Tinoisamoa: 6'1 - 230 lbs. - Age: 30
Tinoisamoa is coming off of an off season knee surgery. He may or may not be ready to go by Week One, but it sounds like the recovery is going well. He is undersized, which makes me doubt that the Raiders would be big players for him as they have focused on beefing up there LB crew, but Pisa plays bigger than he is.
Also, he could step right in and fill the huge shoes vacated by Nnamdi Asomugha as the player with an impossible name to spell or pronounce. Here is ESPN's scouting report:
Tinoisamoa is somewhat undersized but plays bigger than his dimensions. He is an excellent athlete who shows good range in pursuit. He has speed to the sideline with a burst to close. He has good balance, but will get bounced out of his gap responsibility at times. He has range and can close quickly from the backside to make plays. He usually wraps up well when tackling and has some pop to him when he squares up. In coverage, he has good awareness and anticipates well to make plays on the ball. Tinoisamoa is a good player who, when healthy, is an excellent complement to Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher.
This next guy on my list would have to switch from an ILB in a 3-4 to an OLB in a 4-3, but I think he could handle it.
Stephen Cooper: 6'1 - 235 lbs. - Age: 32
Cooper is a solid all-around linebacker. He could probably step right in and win the weakside starting job. He isn't going to excel, but he would also not be a liability in either the run or the pass game.
Cooper has developed into a quality starting inside backer. He is a bit undersized but plays with a high level of competitiveness and a good nose for the ball. He is quick to locate the level of the ball and quick to step up into the hole. He demonstrates good hand use and rarely stays blocked for long. He can deliver a good punch on tackles and does a good job of keeping his feet as he drives through the tackle. He gets good depth in his pass drops but needs some work on route recognition and reading the quarterback's eyes.
Last and probably least is:
Keyaron Fox: 6'3 - 235 lbs. - Age: 29
Fox has never been a starter, but he has earned some playing time. He would be a good depth pickup and a special teams contributor. Also, he is the type of player that Al Davis likes to take a flyer because he is an under-producing freakish athlete. Here is the ESPN synopsis:
Fox has been a career backup. He has a good combination of size and athleticism and has above-average strength for a linebacker. He runs well and shows excellent range in pursuit. He is a solid open-field tackler but needs to play with better pad level on contact. He is aggressive attacking the line of scrimmage and taking on larger blockers but is inconsistent at separating effectively. Fox is athletic enough to be excellent in coverage but is inconsistent. He is a better athlete than football player, but he is an impact player on special teams.