Raiders to have 6 players battle for 2 ILB spots

With both starting inside linebackers from last year gone, HC Jack Del Rio will see a battle between six new players for the two spots.

| 2 weeks ago
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

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.

Raiders ILBs

  • julius

    Hope Riley is ready & willing!

  • Andre Taylor

    There have been a few times that the fans and sports media felt that a team had not properly addressed a certain position, while the organization stood firm that they had. I refuse to believe that GM Reggie McKenzie seeing that the Raiders are one of the few teams that have a real chance to make a Super Bowl run, and not want to strengthen that position so that it isn’t a weakness. We see players every year come out of no where to take the NFL by storm, after the Dolphins struck out on signing RB C.J. Anderson, Lamar Miller leaves in free agency to the Texans. Everyone felt that Miami needed to address the RB position, the Jay Ajayi comes out of no where and leads the Dolphins in rushing with 1200 plus yards. Had they signed Anderson or kept Miller, Ajayi would have never gotten a chance. The Raiders may be just fine at the ILB position.

  • Terrence Healy

    I think winning will inspire the defense as well, it will take a few games but the defense will slowly gel and keep getting better. The good think is the Offense can make points at will this year.