The Las Vegas Raiders made it a point to upgrade their linebacker corps this offseason but it looks like they could be interested in more help. Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski were really good additions but the team still lacks depth at the position. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, they attempted to sign former Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles starting linebacker Mychal Kendricks.
Unfortunately, it looks like Kendricks and the Raiders couldn’t come to an agreement for whatever reason. He would’ve been a solid pickup this late in the game. He’s got a Super Bowl ring and a lot of experience as a starter on good teams. It’s still early in training camp so it’s possible the two sides can work something out.
Does This Mean Raiders Are Shopping for LBs?
Kendricks isn’t the type of player you target if you’re looking for a training camp body. This report probably means that the Raiders are looking for legit linebacker help. Marquel Lee was let go early in camp so there’s definitely a hole at the position. Kwiatkoski and Littleton are the obvious starters but it remains to be seen who the third guy on the field will be when the Raiders put three linebackers in.
Rookie Tanner Muse is too new to the position to get a serious look yet. Nicholas Morrow is the most obvious candidate but he hasn’t impressed in the few years he’s been with the team. There are some other options in free agency. Familiar face Will Compton is still a free agent. He was a solid late-season addition for the silver and black last year. Alec Ogletree would also be an interesting pickup. He made an All-Pro team in 2016 and is only 28. He also has familiarity playing with Cory Littleton.
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Undrafted LB Could End up Making Roster
The Raiders might even just decide to stay put as they have a promising young piece on the roster. Javin White was an undrafted free agent but he’s already impressing. Jon Gruden has given him a shoutout and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther had some very high praise for him.
“White has been a pleasant surprise,” Guenther said Thursday. “We made a living in Cincinnati getting undrafted linebackers to come in and be a big part of what we do. This guy, to me, is as good of a prospect from a college free agent that I’ve seen in a long time. He communicates. He can run. He’s really understanding the defense. Once we get the pads on and he gets in the brier patch, we’ll see what he can do.”
White played both safety and linebacker and college so he should be solid in pass defense. The fact that he’s from Oakland, California and played college ball at UNLV also makes him a great story. It’s hard not to see the parallels between White and Keelan Doss last year. While he is impressing now, the road is very difficult for undrafted free agents, especially since there’s no preseason. He’s going to have to keep showing out in training camp if he has any hope of making the team.