clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

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

New, comments

We check on the Raiders inside linebacker position pre-draft to give it a condition of either Strong, Stable, Touch and go, Serious, or Critical.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Starter: Malcolm Smith
Depth: Ben Heeney, John Lotulelei

Smith was signed last offseason to play outside linebacker, but played a good amount at middle linebacker due to the lackluster play of Curtis Lofton. Ben Heeney was selected in the fifth round of the 2015 draft. Lotulelei was signed this offseason to compete for depth and special teams.

Condition: Touch and go

Inside linebacker was considered a big need after Curtis Lofton's failed single season in Oakland. The Raiders instead added outside linebacker Bruce Irvin which suggests they like what they saw from Smith and Heeney on the inside.

When running the 3-4 defense, which the Raiders do quite often, Smith proved to be quite adept while Heeney a lot of promise with impressive closing speed and range. Yet again, however, the team is left without a pure middle linebacker on the team.

It wouldn't be the worst thing to go into the season with Smith as the starting middle linebacker in the 4-3 and the two side by side in the 3-4, so should they not see an inside linebacker they like when their pick comes up, they shouldn't feel like they have to reach for one. But they should absolutely add an inside linebacker in this draft if they have the chance in the top three rounds.