NFL.com: Raiders worst linebackers, defensive line in NFL

Andy Lyons

Greg Rosenthal has put out his defensive positions group rankings. In them he ranks the Raiders linebackers and defensive line as the worst in football.

Most of you are probably getting a bit sick of hearing about all the analysts dogging on the Raiders this off-season. And to that, all I can ask is that you not shoot the messenger. Also, to be completely honest, this messenger is finding it is getting a bit tiresome as well.

Tuesday, NFL.com's Greg Rosenthal put out his position group rankings for the offense and the Raiders wide receivers were mentioned as the worst with tight ends and quarterbacks getting the oddly dubbed "honorable mention".

Wednesday, he put out his position group rankings for the defense and the Raiders stamp was all over those as well. Topping the lists of worst position groups were the Raiders linebacking corps and defensive line which is 2/3 of the defense.

He also put the Raiders cornerbacks as honorable mention (hard for me to even type "honorable mention" in this instance considering how little sense it makes. Being mentioned here is anything but honorable).

Here is what he had to say about the linebackers:

The Raiders' linebacker group is the definition of replacement level. Nick Roach, Kaluka Maiva and Kevin Burnett were all signed to cheap, short-term deals. They all would fit better as reserves somewhere, but they will start in Oakland. Third-round pick Sio Moore is the group's best hope for the future.

There are a great many mistakes in this little paragraph.

1. Nick Roach was not signed to a "cheap, short-term deal". He was signed to a 4-year, $13 million deal which is neither cheap nor short.

2. It's Kaluka "Maiava", not "Maiva".

3. "They all would fit better as reserves somewhere" is completely unfounded. It makes no sense to even say that. Especially because they weren't reserves somewhere else. All three of them were starters on their previous teams. Roach has started 59 games over the past five seasons including shifting to middle linebacker the latter half of last season and Kevin Burnett has been a starter for years. That statement also suggests that no players can ever come out of the shadow of another player to show they deserve to be starters. It happens too often for Rosenthal to ignore the concept.

4. He says "Sio Moore is the group's best hope for the future" and yet he doesn't think he will start over any of the guys he pigeonholed as "replacement level". If they are replacement level, then wouldn't the Raiders "best hope" replace one of them? I'm officially confused.

Now let's move on to the defensive line of which he had ranked as the worst as well. Here is what he had to say:

Once again, Oakland is starting guys who would struggle to get jobs elsewhere. Lamarr Houston is a nice player, but after that it's Vance Walker, Pat Sims and Jason Hunter. There just aren't young guys to get excited about. If Dennis Allen wins seven games with this roster, he should get Coach of the Year votes.

I have no issues here. He is spot on with his assessment. The Raiders did almost nothing this off-season whether in free agency or the draft to fix the gaping holes which were created with the departures of Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Desmond Bryant, and Matt Shaughnessy. It would indeed be quite an accomplishment if this defensive line as currently assembled is able to perform at a high level.

As far as the cornerbacks are concerned, I would have agreed with him at one time, but not now. This is a deep group of corners with at least two decent starters, if not more. The likes of Tracy Porter, D.J. Hayden, Mike Jenkins, Joselio Hanson, Phillip Adams, Brandian Ross, and Chimdi Chekwa will easily yield a good group on the final roster to compete for playing time.

Keep your collective heads up. It is clear that this team can't be looked more down upon than they are right now and it seems almost impossible they could live down to the cavernous expectations being placed upon them. They have been picking up a lot of players with the a chip on their shoulder. This team as a unit has every reason to have a chip on its shoulder as well, so that should work out just fine.

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