With the NFL draft and free agency now in the past, the Las Vegas Raiders‘ roster shouldn’t have many more big changes. However, there are still some needs that must be addressed. Linebacker was a big need this offseason but the team didn’t do much to add to the group and only added one player to the position group in the draft.
Linebacker has been a position the Raiders have struggled at for years and the current group doesn’t look like it will buck that trend. That could lead to the team taking a look at the remaining crop of free agents. Perhaps the most obvious fit would be Kyle Van Noy. After spending five years with the New England Patriots, Van Noy joined the Los Angeles Chargers last season. They decided not to bring him back and he’s sitting in free agency. Due to his connection to the current Raiders’ coaching staff which is filled with former Patriots, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes the team should sign him:
Van Noy could help pressure the quarterback as a rotational edge-rusher, but he could also help bolster Las Vegas’ woeful run defense. Even after adding Robert Spillane and rookie Amari Burney at linebacker, there’s a need for depth at the position.
The 32-year-old Van Noy could bring a lot of experience to Las Vegas’ young defense, help fill multiple roles and help McDaniels continue instilling his culture in the Raiders roster.
Van Noy Is From Nevada
Van Noy coming to Las Vegas would be a good story for a couple of reasons. He’d be able to reunite with a lot of coaches that he won two Super Bowls during his time in New England. He’d also be much closer to home. Van Noy was born in Henderson, Nevada, and grew up in Reno, Nevada. Playing for the Raiders would be a homecoming for the veteran linebacker.
Players often jump at the chance to play closer to home toward the end of their careers. Van Noy coming to the Raiders would make a lot of sense for both sides.
Raiders Are High on Amari Burney
On the outside looking in, it would seem the Raiders need to address linebacker. However, the team could be confident in what they have. The team used a sixth-round pick on Amari Burney out of Florida and he may have a chance to see the field despite being a late-round pick. General manager Dave Ziegler thinks that Burney does have the ability to play well in coverage.
“We thought he’s done a really good job over his career developing as a linebacker,” Ziegler said of Burney during his April 29 media availability.
“He does also have that coverage ability that you kind of see that safety background. … One of the things we look at when we’re watching linebackers at the pro level or college level is their ability to close space and zone because that’s really what they’re asked to do more than anything else is drop into zone and close space, and he could do that. Also had a couple good plays playing tight ends and things like that down the seam. I think he’s a versatile guy that’s still growing.”