clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What condition the Raiders position is in pre-draft: Outside linebacker

New, comments
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Starters: Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin
Depth: Aldon Smith, Neiron Ball, Daren Bates, Jimmy Hall, Colton Underwood

Mack is entering his third season after spending time last season at both linebacker and defensive end. Irvin was one of the team's top three free agent signings this offseason. Aldon Smith was re-signed this week to a 2-year deal. He was signed just prior to last season and at midseason was handed a one-year suspension. Neiron Ball was a fifth round pick in 2015. Bates was signed recently as a free agent as a special teams maven.

Condition: Strong

Mack is the best player on the team and one of the best defenders in the NFL, coming off a season in which he had 15.5 sacks and was the first player in history to be named All Pro at two different positions (LB, DE). He is an elite defender against the run and rushing the passer. He will once again go back and forth from defensive end to outside linebacker.

Irvin joins the team with designs on utilizing him the same way they use Mack. Though Irvin may be better in coverage.

Aldon Smith is a starter, but he won't be back until mid-November. Once he returns, the Raiders will have glut of outstanding outside linebackers at their disposal, with Mack and Smith both as proven elite pass rushers.

Malcolm Smith is also a very good outside linebacker, though he was used at inside linebacker quite a bit last season and the team is better served to keep him there with the current roster.

Ball proved in his few starts last season that he is every bit the promising talent the Raiders hoped they were getting when they selected him in the fifth round of the draft. He had some injury issues in college and went out with injury at midseason and didn't return. He is fantastic in coverage, he just needs to stay healthy.

The other linebackers will hope to find a place on the roster on special teams.

Though they have no real need to draft an outside linebacker, I wouldn't put it past them to draft a player at the position anyway, should there be value there. It's clear Reggie McKenzie and Jack Del Rio are firm believers a team can't have enough outside linebackers.