There’s a lot of hype surrounding the Las Vegas Raiders offense heading into the 2022 season. The team added Davante Adams to a receiving group that already had Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. Those three will form one of the best trios in the NFL and the team also has an impressive stable of running backs.
How the defense will play is a bit less clear. New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is a respected mind and has two of the best pass rushers in the NFL to work with in Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. Despite that, there are still some holes in the defensive roster, especially at linebacker. The team let go of Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski while letting Nicholas Morrow sign with the Chicago Bears. They didn’t end up addressing the position in the draft but may have landed a key player late in free agency.
The Raiders announced that they’ve signed veteran linebacker Kenny Young.
Young spent last season with the Los Angeles Rams before being traded to the Denver Broncos for a 2024 sixth-round pick. He originally came into the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens.
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Young Is Coming off Best Season
Though it is late in free agency and most of the best players have been signed, Young is a sneaky good addition. He started 13 of 13 games for two very good defenses last season and is just 26-years-old. Last season, he notched 75 tackles, 2.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Those are really solid numbers and would be an improvement.
No Raiders linebacker had more than 0.5 sacks last season. In fact, linebackers for the team combined for 0.5 sacks last season so Young outproduced all of them. No Raiders defender had more than two fumble recoveries last year so Young also outproduced the team in that regard. It’s unlikely that he’ll turn into an All-Pro out of nowhere but he could be an ascending player who is still young. The Raiders may have found a steal this late in free agency.
Will Divine Deablo & Denzel Perryman Still Start?
Graham is most likely to run a 3-4 base on defense but the Raiders will be playing nickel quite a bit. That means that there won’t be more than two true linebackers on the field for most snaps. In 3-4 sets, Crosby and Jones will be on the outside rushing the passer but who will be in the middle?
Last year, Divine Deablo and Denzel Perryman were the starting linebackers for the Raiders towards the end of the season. Perryman is a veteran tackling machine who made the Pro Bowl last season. He should still be a starter but could come off the field for passing downs. Deablo showed a lot of promise as a rookie. He’s got all the athletic tools to be an impact player. Young could threaten his status as a starter but Deablo could still have the leg up. It’s difficult to know exactly where Graham’s head is at in regards to the depth chart so training camp will be illuminating.