Hype for the Las Vegas Raiders‘ defense to starting to build up. After years of mediocrity, the team shed a bunch of money on offense and used it to address the defense. Based on training camp, it looks like that was the right call.
New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has talent to work with and his defense is set up for success. However, there’s still some concern surrounding the linebacker corps. It was the one position group the Raiders didn’t make any notable additions to. Based on the first unofficial depth chart, Nicholas Morrow, Tanner Muse and Cory Littleton are the team’s starters.
Morrow was solid for the team last season but Muse didn’t play and Littleton struggled. Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report believes the Raiders need to “immediately” sign former Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowler KJ Wright:
Wright played under Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for two seasons (2011 and 2012) with the Seahawks. Schematically, he’s a fit in a system that’s familiar to him.
If Muse still needs to develop before he can take on a role in the base unit or the coaching staff has concerns about Littleton’s ability to bounce back, Wright can fill a void on the second level of the defense.
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Should Raiders Stay Put at Linebacker?
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Wright had a visit with the Raiders last week but left Las Vegas without a deal. Despite the lack of a contract, there is obviously a certain level of interest. Wright would be a significant addition this close to the start of the season. He has a Pro Bowl pedigree and previously played under Bradley. That said, the Raiders should see what they have at linebacker.
With Bradley taking over the defense, it’s hard to imagine Littleton is as bad this season as he was last. He’s a former Pro Bowler and was considered one of the best linebackers in the NFL prior to 2020. The team is really high on Morrow and still has Nick Kwiatkoski as a depth piece. Wright is a very good player but the Raiders should see what they have through the first couple of preseason games before they seriously consider signing him.
Bradley Likes What He’s Seen From Muse
One of the big surprises of training camp has been the rise of Muse. He didn’t play a snap last season due to injury and looked bad in practice. He was having a hard time transitioning from safety to linebacker. He must have improved over the last year as he’s been taking many first-team snaps in training camp. Also, Bradley has been impressed with him.
“He’s done a good job,” Gus Bradley said, via Raiders.com. “He plays outside linebacker for us in base personnel, we moved him there. He’s got really good speed, very good speed. As you know in college, that’s what showed up for him. So [it’s good] to have an athletic guy like that on the perimeter.”
Now, just because he’s been practicing with the first team doesn’t mean he starts. That could be a reason why the Raiders have shown interest in Wright. Muse will be one of the most interesting names to watch during the team’s first preseason game on Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks.