Raiders draft outlook: Middle linebackers

Raiders draft outlook: Middle linebackers
April 29, 2014, 3:45 pm
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Nick Roach led the Raiders with 112 tackles, 5.5 sacks and four forced fumbles during the 2013 season. (AP)

Raiders Draft Outlook
Outside Linebackers
Inside Linebackers
April 30 -- Defensive Linemen
May 1 -- Wide Receviers
May 1 -- Offensive Linemen
May 2 -- Tight Ends
May 3 -- Specialists
May 4 -- Running Backs
May 5 -- Quarterbacks

Editor’s note: In the buildup to the 2014 NFL Draft (May 8-10) will have content every day, including position breakdowns, retrospectives, mock drafts and more. Bookmark our Road to the NFL Draft page and set your DVRs tonight, when the Raiders 2014 Draft Special debuts on CSN California at 8:30pm.

Raiders middle linebacker Nick Roach played every defensive snap last season. While that’s not always positive to tax a player so, leaving Roach in was a necessary requirement for the defense’s cerebral core.

The Raider hope the same thing happens again. Not only is Roach the Raiders on-field coordinator, he was their most productive player in some surprising categories.

He led the team with 112 tackles – typical of a middle linebacker –5.5 sacks and four forced fumbles – less standard – during the 2013 season.

He also has a contract that runs through 2016. Roach is a lock to be the Raiders’ middle linebacker for the foreseeable future, leaving it less likely they attack the position in this year’s draft.

The Raiders could use some depth at the position, which might result in a late pick on a player who could contribute quickly on special teams.

Who's here: Nick Roach, Marshall McFadden

Draft needs: With Roach entrenched in the middle for the short term at the very least, this isn’t a pressing need.

Good fits: The goal might be to get a low-round prospect who can develop but contribute quickly in the kicking game. Linebacker Lamin Barrow is a physical specimen who could develop into a solid middle linebacker in time. The versatility of Stanford’s Shayne Skov could make him valuable as a developing weakside linebacker and an option in the middle should Roach go down.

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