The Las Vegas Raiders finally found stability at the linebacker position, but after a year plagued by injuries, the team was left to play two rookies until the end of the season.
The linebacker position also is losing four players to free agency, so unless they re-sign a few players, the Raiders will be left extremely thin at the linebacker position.
Raiders General Manager Dave Ziegler and staff will be busy evaluating a handful of players via free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft to help bolster the position right away.
Meantime, we’ll be working alongside SI’s Draft Bible to get you the latest information on any potential linebacker prospects the Raiders might consider drafting.
“We’re going to continue to find players who fit what we look for, and continue to build this team in our vision, and I think we’re going to, at the same time, our goal is to win football games, and our goal for next year is to make an improvement over where we were this year,” Raiders General Manager Dave Ziegler said.
Alabama’s starting WILL (middle linebacker) Henry To’o To’o is a valuable option to replace, replenish and improve the linebacker position.
To’o To’o stands 6-2 and weighs 228 pounds, is a lengthy athletically gifted linebacker who can get to the running back and tight ends quickly, and once he locks up the player, he is set to bring them down.
“In coverage, To’o To’o displays his speed, carrying slots and tight ends up the seam. He is physical, possessing the ability to shock blockers,” Draft Bible said of To’o To’o. “Smart linebacker who communicates pre-snap to get his defense lined up.”
The Alabama product excelled in the running game with his ability to get through blockers and stop the ball-carrier.
But an area of concern for To’o To’o’s play is his second guessing of to attack first.
On film, he usually goes after the run first, which causes him to be out of position in the passing game.
While his last season at Alabama was a huge improvement, he took bad angles causing him to miss easy tackles, 16 last season and 19 in 2021.
To’o To’o can fall to the Raiders on day two of the draft and perhaps day three, depending how the linebackers get selected.
If the Raiders selet him, they will be gaining an athletic linebacker with plenty of speed and strength at a much needed position.
The small flaws can be corrected at the next level, and can take some time to develop.
“He has to improve his processing skills to get on the field consistently. His speed should make him a special-teams contributor,” Draft Bible added.
The NFL Draft will occur at Union Station in Kansas City, Mo., beginning on Thursday, April 27, and ending with rounds five to seven on Saturday, April 29. ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network will broadcast all seven rounds.
The NFL Scouting Combine is Feb. 28-March 6, 2023, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. On March 7, 2023, before 4 p.m. EST, is the club's deadline to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
March 13-15 is the free agent negotiation period. Starting at 12 p.m. EST on March 13 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m. EST on March 15, clubs are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2022 Player Contracts at 4 p.m. EST on March 15.
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