Raiders to have 6 players battle for 2 ILB spots
- Second-year LB Cory James, a former sixth-round pick out of Colorado State, may be an odds-on favorite to land one of the two starting inside linebacker spots with the Oakland Raiders with the void of Malcolm Smith and Perry Riley Jr. James finished his rookie season with an 8.8 run stop percentage (stops constitute a ‘loss’ for the offense) and just five missed tackles.
- Former Miami Dolphins LB Jelani Jenkins, who was signed this offseason, may be able to take advantage the losses of Riley and Smith to earn the nod in Oakland. During a career-year in 2014, Jenkins allowed just 0.92 yards per coverage snap and recorded 35 run stops.
- Rookie fifth-round pick Marquel Lee is the newest addition to the position battle. The Wake Forest product allowed just 0.48 yards per coverage snap and recorded 47 run stops on 381 snaps against the run in 2016 as a Demon Deacon.
- With just seven combined starts under their belt, third-year linebackers Ben Heeney and Neiron Ball, two fifth-round picks from the 2015 NFL draft, have been limited in recent years largely due to injuries. Heeney has accrued 19 stops on 450 regular season snaps, while Ball has just three stops on 64 regular season snaps.
- Having signed a two-year deal with Oakland in November, former undrafted linebacker Tyrell Adams is also in the hunt for a starting role. He has logged just one defensive snap in his two-year NFL career.