We covered the defensive backs first, and now in our second installment of Raider combine top performers, we talk about the linebackers. It seems appropriate due to the fact that the Raiders will be in the market for a linebacker or two this offseason.
The most athletic linebacker the Raiders have had in recent years is Jon Alston. He had a combine best among linebackers with a 4.4 40 yard dash. He was 2nd in the broad jump (11'), 4th in the 3 cone drill (6.90) and 5nd in the vertical jump (40"). His potential had him chosen by the Rams in the third round of the2006 draft where he lasted just one season. After he was cut, the Raiders gave him a call (no doubt because they were disappointed the Rams drafted him before they could). He would spend three season with the Raiders as a solid special teams contributor.
Just after him at that same combine was Thomas Howard of whom the Raiders chose in round two that year. He was just behind Alston in the 40 yard dash with a 4.42 time. He was also 2nd among linebackers in the 60 yard shuttle (11.22).
The Raiders currently have one freakishly athletic linebacker on the team in Aaron Curry. He was chosen 4th overall by the Seahawks in 2009 (Not to be outdone, the Raiders had the 7th pick that year which they used on combine freak Darrius Heyward-Bey). Curry had a linebacker combine bests with a 4.56 40, 37 vertical jump, 10.4 broad jump, and 11.35 60 yd shuttle. Turns out those numbers didn't add up to a Pro Bowl career and he was traded to the Raiders last season.
Outside of position drills, how important do you think these drills are in measuring a prospective NFL player?