For what seems the umpteenth season in a row, the Raiders are rebuilding their linebacker corps. The only returning starting linebacker in Oakland's base 4-3 defense is second-year weakside 'backer Miles Burris. Philip Wheeler (SAM 'backer) signed with Miami as an unrestricted free agent and MIKE 'backer Rolando McClain was waived and later signed with Baltimore. We continue our position-by-position series on the Raiders' draft outlook with a look at the outside linebackers…
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Who's here: Kaelin Burnett (strongside), Kevin Burnett (strongside), Miles Burris (weakside), Kaluka Maiava (weakside), Keenan Clayton (weakside), Jerrell Harris, Mario Kurn
Draft needs: The prospective starters on the outside are Burris at WILL, with Maiava pushing hard for time, and Kevin Burnett at SAM, with little brother Kaelin backing him up. So the need here in the draft is for depth, if the Raiders even address it during the draft. This much is true, though -- the Raiders need more of a pass rush from the outside as Wheeler took his three sacks to South Beach and Burris brings his 1 1/2 sacks back to Oakland. As a team, the Raiders' 25 sacks ranked 31st in the 32-team NFL.
Good fits: Let's start with the guys the Raiders coached at the Senior Bowl -- Rutgers' Khaseem Greene, who is seen as a late first round-round pick, Harding's Ty Powell, a converted defensive end who has risen on some draft boards to a fifth-rounder, Kansas State's Arthur Brown, a potential second-rounder, Connecticut's Trevardo Williams, a potential fourth-rounder, and Ohio State's John Simon, another converted defensive end seen as a fourth-rounder. But if the Raiders choose to hold onto the No. 3 overall selection, they can have their choice of Oregon's Dion Jordan or LSU's Barkevious Mingo, both of whom are considered pass-rushing outside 'backers in a 3-4 defense. The most intriguing prospect, though, might be Georgia's Jarvis Jones, who, even with concerns over his health and his spinal condition, might be a Top 5 pick. And while Jordan, Jones and Mingo are outside 'backers in a 3-4 scheme, Greene and Brown are 4-3 guys. Yes, every team would love to have an outside linebacker who can play in multiple schemes, excelling both in the pass rush and also in coverage. But with the Raiders promising to be more multiple, it's even more important for them to find a hybrid should they use a draft pick on an outside linebacker.