The NFL draft is closing in and the Las Vegas Raiders‘ needs seem obvious. The team hasn’t properly addressed safety or right tackle yet. It appears Las Vegas is determined to sort out both needs in the draft.
However, there could be some players who cause the Raiders to forget about their biggest needs. According to Sports Illustrated’s Hondo Carpenter, the team is keeping a close eye on Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons.
“That’s a linebacker out of Penn State who is an absolute beast. Now I think there are some defensive backs [the Raiders] really like and some offensive linemen. But I’m telling you, I keep hearing if Micah Parsons falls, nobody in the NFL believes he gets past the Raiders and the biggest question is if he falls that far.”
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Easy to See Why Raiders Would Want Parsons
Parsons is easily one of the most exciting defensive prospects. If it wasn’t for so many amazing offensive players coming out this year, he’d likely be a top-10 pick. However, it’s very possible that there is a big run of quarterbacks, wide receivers and offensive linemen in the first half of the draft. That could leave the door open for the Raiders to land Parsons.
That would be very exciting for them as they’d finally have a dynamic linebacker that they can have for years. Parsons is 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds but ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at his pro day. People that big usually don’t run that fast. He excels in pass coverage and can also reward the team with some sacks. He’s a playmaker and that’s exactly what the Raiders need.
That said, it’s really hard to see him falling all the way down to No. 17 in the draft. There are plenty of teams that could use a player like Parsons. The Raiders could always trade up but Jon Gruden hasn’t done that once in the first round since taking over the team. If they really do like Parsons, it’s possible they change things up and ensure they get him.
Do Raiders Need Another Linebacker?
While the Raiders should take Parsons if he falls to them, they can’t be too upset if they miss out on him. The team spent big money on Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski last season. Though those two were disappointing, they should be improved with Gus Bradley leading the defense.
Also, the team re-signed Nicholas Morrow to a new contract this offseason. He showed some really good flashes last season and the Raiders are high on him. If Littleton and Kwiatkoski can play to the level that was expected of them last season, the team should be solid at linebacker. The need for a safety or another cornerback is far greater than the one at linebacker.