Drafting linebackers is something Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie has done with some regularity over his 5-year tenure with the team. Has he had a tendency to draft more linebackers than other teams is the question.
According to a recent analysis by Rotoworld’s Hribar, its pretty close. Of the 41 draft picks the Raiders have had since 2012, 8 of them have been linebackers. That’s one fewer than the league lead which is shared by the Vikings and Cowboys.
That total doesn’t even include Shilique Calhoun who the team moved to linebacker.
Draft pick allocation over the past 5 years... pic.twitter.com/oBTkRkR1fW— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) February 7, 2017
The Raiders are also tied for the second most defensive ends taken (6). And in many cases, those positions are interchangeable (Khalil Mack for instance).
Their combined 14 draft picks at DE/LB is tied with the Cowboys for the most in the NFL over the past five years.
Also keep in mind, the Raiders didn’t have a draft selection in the first three rounds of the 2012 draft. Last offseason, the Raiders signed linebacker Bruce Irvin as a free agent. He was a first round pick in that draft.
The bulk of the Raiders’ picks under McKenzie have come on the defensive side of the ball. They have drafted 23 defensive players to 18 on offense.
This disparity figures to rise in this year’s draft as the Raiders’ look to improve their deficient defense. And you can figure there will be a linebacker or two in there somewhere.
Of the 25 mock drafts collected in our recent database, all but one had the Raiders going defense with their top pick. Five of them predicted a linebacker would be the pick, including Todd McShay’s recent mock draft.