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Silver Minings: Raiders’ linebacker room is about to get crowded

Javin White has been working on field with trainers

NFL: AUG 21 Preseason - Raiders at Rams
Javin White
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Linebacker Javin White has been a standout during the Las Vegas Raiders’ two most recent training camps.

In 2020, most of the chatter came from the coaching staff but the reports were that he was playing well and exceeding expectations as an undrafted free agent. He would go on to make the practice squad and got called up for three games and was primarily a special teamer.

Then White burst onto the scene this preseason as he ranked eighth among linebackers with an 88.3 PFF coverage grade, and he tied for the most forced incompletions at the position despite playing in one fewer game than everyone else.

Unfortunately, August didn't end well for the Oakland native as he suffered a knee injury that cut his preseason short and forced him to start the year on injured reserve.

The good news is The Athletic’s Tashan Reed tweeted a few injury updates, which included the news that White was working on the sidelines with the trainers.

While the Raiders haven’t designated White to return just yet, they still have plenty of time to do so and he’s already been inactive for the minimum three weeks. So, all of this combined with him working on the field means the young linebacker could be set to return shortly.

That could mean some tough decisions are head for general manager Mike Mayock and newly-appointed interim head coach Rich Bisaccia. Las Vegas currently has five linebackers on the roster but only two, Denzel Perryman and Cory Littleton have recorded more than 120 snaps through five games this season. Plus, defensive back Johnathan Abram plays in the box quite a bit as well.

KJ Wright, Nick Kwiatkoski and Divine Deablo round out the position group and could be on the hot seat if Mayock and Bisaccia want to keep White on the 53-man.

I’d assume Deablo would be safe since he was a third-round pick this year and it’d be an interesting decision to let a second linebacker project go after the Tanner Muse situation. That would leave Wright and Kwiatkoski on the chopping block unless Mayock and Bisaccia decide to subtract from another position group.

For what it’s worth, Wright has played more and earned a higher overall PPF Grade than Kwiatkoski - 65.5 to 55.1. We’ll see how it all unfolds but the organization’s decision-makers certainly have some tough calls to make, especially since Nick Morrow could return as well.

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