Versatile LB Prospects Reveal They Had Strong Meetings With the Raiders

jon gruden

Getty Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

There’s a lot of chatter about the Las Vegas Raiders need wide receiver help in the draft, but their need at linebacker is probably even greater. It has been the weak point of the team’s defense for years now and they need to fix it. Luckily, there are some really strong prospects in the 2020 class and the Raiders are armed with two first-round picks.

One name to keep an eye on is Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray. The versatile linebacker revealed on Thursday that he’s met with the Raiders already and believes he left a positive impression.

“I had a formal interview with [the Raiders] last night,” Murray said. “Went really, really well. I really love their style. They have some really great coaches … The Raiders [have] a phenomenal program, phenomenal team.”

Murray is very athletic for a linebacker and is exactly what the Raiders need if they’re going to stop tight ends. Right now, their linebacker corps is too slow and bad in pass coverage to put up much of a fight. Murray could be plugged in day one and make a difference but will have a bit of learning curve.

Patrick Queen Is Another Player to Watch

It’s likely that Murray will drop down to the Raiders’ second first-round pick at number 19. However, there’s another player who could interest the team more and that’s Patrick Queen out of LSU. He’s been a draft riser and he’s expected show off strong athletism at the Combine. He also had a meeting with the Raiders.

“I did talk to the Raiders,” Queen said. “The meeting went great. I felt really comfortable with those guys. We had a few laughs and jokes and stuff, but for the most part, I feel like I’m very confident.”

Similar to Murray, Queen should excel in pass coverage from day one. He’s a little undersized so he could struggle in run defense at first, but he can definitely add some muscle in the offseason. If the team can’t get their dream prospect at number 12, there’s a very good shot Queen or Murray get the call at number 19.

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Isaiah Simmons Is a Pipe Dream

In a perfect world, Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons would fall to the Raiders at number 12. That’s incredibly unlikely as he’s easily the best linebacker prospect this year. It’s hard to imagine he even gets out of the top 10. Las Vegas isn’t going to give up valuable draft capital to trade up to draft him so they’ll just have to hope that a miracle happens.

Simmons can do everything. He can cover, he can pass rush and he can tackle. He’d be a starter from day one and immediately change the Raiders defense. The team’s tight end problem would likely go away and they’d finally have a long-term leader in the middle. Murray and Queen have a lot of upside, but nobody will have the impact that Simmons could have. Though he admitted to being a Kansas City Chiefs fan, he sure would look good in silver and black. If he does fall to number 12, the Raiders need to forget about CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy and snag their linebacker of the future.

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