It’s been a lackluster start to the season for the Las Vegas Raiders defense as they allowed 38 points to the Buffalo Bills in Week 2. One solution to the problem could be to add a dynamic linebacker, according to Bleacher Report.
“While Queen is a luxury on the Ravens defense, he would be a foundational piece in the middle for the Raiders,” Ballentine wrote in a September 20 column.
“It would take a good draft pick or multiple selections to get him to Vegas, but this is a team that has to find some solid answers on its defense.”
The Ravens declined Queen’s fifth-year option this offseason and already have a star linebacker in Roquan Smith. The former first-round pick is likely not going to be with the team next season as he is set for free agency. Considering his situation, Queen should be gettable for at least a fourth-round pick. The Raiders have struggled to find consistent play at linebacker for years so adding a player with upside like Queen may be worth the trade. He only recently turned 24 in August.
Divine Deablo off to Strong Start
The Raiders may not need to make a big linebacker trade if Divine Deablo keeps playing well. Through two games, he has a Pro Football Focus grade of 76.9, which is 16th-best in the NFL. He’s notched 19 combined tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack in two games. Deablo played safety in college but was drafted by the Raiders in 2021 to play linebacker. It looks like he’s finally starting to get comfortable in the position.
The Raiders mostly run two linebacker sets so Deablo is often on the field with just Robert Spillane. While he’s not playing as well as Deablo, he is PFF’s 35th-ranked linebacker through two games. It’s not an elite duo but it’s one of the better ones the Raiders have in recent years. Now, Patrick Queen is the 11th-ranked linebacker by PFF so he would be an upgrade. The Raiders might want to see more games from Deablo and Spillane before they consider making a trade.
Las Vegas Raiders Add LB Mykal Walker
Robert Spillane and Divine Deablo are playing well but the depth behind them is concerning. Luke Masterson is in his second year after getting signed as an undrafted free agent last year, Amari Burney is a rookie who hasn’t played yet and Curtis Bolton is mostly a special teams player.
In an effort to add depth at linebacker, the Raiders announced on September 19 that they’ve signed Mykal Walker to the practice squad.
Walker first came into the NFL as a fourth-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 2020 NFL Draft. In three seasons, he played 49 games, including 20 starts. He’s coming off a season where he had 107 combined tackles, two interceptions and a sack. Though he’s on the practice squad, he’ll be a candidate to make the active roster in the near future.
He has more starting experience than any other Raiders linebacker and will provide some solid depth if there are any injuries at the position.