If you look back at the draft, one thing immediately jumps into sight. The Raiders did not address the need until late on Day 3. As a result, you can draw plenty of inferences to the lack of decisive moves. Yet, three key questions remain.
Is NaVorro Bowman the new Perry Riley?
With no pressing deals from other teams, the Oakland could reach out to NaVorro Bowman at any time. Yet, no news of real movement exists. The free agency period elapsed and Bowman remains home. Similarly, Perry Riley took the same tact and the phone never rang. However, Bowman is far superior to any linebacker currently listed on the Oakland depth chart. In 2017, he tallied 89 tackles in ten games. While he does not excel in coverage, Bowman did notch the Raiders’ first pick of the year. In Paul Guenther’s defense, Bowman would operate in the Vontaze Burfict role. Although Burfict plays a more violent, downhill style, Bowman’s sure tackling could fit the middle well.
What did the Raiders did not like about Genard Avery?
Speaking of Burfict, Memphis LB Genard Avery fits the description of an upfield thumper that fits the middle of most defenses. Sitting there over four rounds, the Memphis product lasted until the thirteenth pick of the fifth round. Two nights ago, ESPNU ran the Memphis/UCLA game. Avery flew over the field, giving the Bruins fits. A few times, Avery caused issues for Kolton Miller. With a blend of agility, aggression, and technique, Avery could have sat in the middle of the Oakland defense for a decade. In other awful news, the Browns selected Avery and will play the Raiders this season.
Which two linebackers flank Tahir Whitehead in September?
With Bruce Irvin scheduled to move to end full-time, the Raiders possess two vacancies. Currently, the early leaders in the clubhouse look like Cory James and Nicholas Morrow. Although Whitehead excels versus the run, offense exposes his coverage liabilities in an instant. Under those consequences, athletic outside linebackers give the Raiders a better chance of staying with Hunter Henry and Travis Kelce. In addition, Denver’s Jake Butt and Troy Fumagalli will present issues at tight end.
In the final analysis, barring a signing, the Raiders appear confident at linebacker. The fact alone should worry RaiderNation. Yet, Guenther chose the new players for his scheme. Whether that works out, remains to be seen.