Sometimes you just know. And after one season, two training camps and preseasons, third round linebacker Shilique Calhoun has shown no indication he will be a contributor on the Raiders.
As a rookie, they moved the former defensive end to linebacker. He is still listed as a linebacker, but most of the time, he’s rushing off the edge. Or at least that’s what he’s tasked to do. He hasn’t offered much in the way of pass rush.
With 84 snaps this preseason — mostly against backups and fringe roster players — Calhoun has not logged a single tackle. He had one hurry in the first preseason game on 40 snaps and that’s the only stat he recorded on defense the entire preseason. That’s it. And that’s not going to cut it.
In ten games as a rookie last season Calhoun logged a grand total of 5 tackles, adding a half sack and a pass defended. He was a liability in coverage from the strong side linebacker spot which limited his playing time severely.
It can be tough for GM’s and coaches to give up on a day two prospect so soon. But the best teams recognize that draft position should not be a major criteria as to whether you keep a player around.
Undoubtedly there were a few teams out there who had Calhoun on their board as a mid round pick. Of those teams, there need only be one that thinks Calhoun may still have a chance at an NFL future in the right situation or in the right scheme. To send a late round pick for a player who just a year ago they would have selected in the top three or four rounds could be worth a shot.
That may be a best case scenario for the Raiders so they don’t come out empty handed. The alternatives if they get no bites is either to hold onto Calhoun or cut bait and move on.
Should they keep Calhoun they would do so at the risk of cutting a player who would be of more value to them on the roster and who may get swiped up on the waiver wire. Someone like James Cowser, for instance.
Cowser went undrafted last year and has outplayed Calhoun every step of the way. They kept Calhoun over Cowser last year, opting to send him to injured reserve, release him on an injury settlement, and luckily were able to bring him back onto the practice squad without another team signing him away. I don’t see any way they would get so lucky again.
It could come to pass that both Calhoun and Cowser are on the roster after the cutdown from 90 to 53. But every other NFL team will also be cutting loose a lot of players. And with needs at other positions like inside linebacker, the Raiders could be active on the waiver wire. With every addition, there must also be a player let go.
Calhoun wouldn’t garner much in trade, but it would certainly be better than nothing. Which is what he’s given the Raiders thus far and what they would get should they waive him.