Although the Las Vegas Raiders have a number of voids to fill this offseason, they have made it clear that linebacker will be a point of emphasis for them.
General manager Mike Mayock had done his due diligence at the Senior Bowl and will keep the process going through the Scouting Combine leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft. With two first-round picks in the top 20, the Raiders are in prime position to find a youthful solution.
Las Vegas could also opt to go with a more established approach by scouring the market in free agency. One name to watch will be Los Angeles Rams linebacker Cory Littleton.
According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the Raiders may be targeting Littleton to help fill the void in their linebacker corps:
Cory Littleton, who has spent the past four seasons with the Rams, is only 26 and is the best linebacker on the free agent market. He can cover tight ends and make tackles in the backfield. The Raiders will surely kick the tires on the three-down player, but he is going to want some solid gold tires.
Littleton signed with Los Angeles as a free agent out of Washington prior to the 2016 campaign. He made his bones as a playmaker on special teams and wound up working his way up the depth chart to become a contributor on defense as well.
Littleton was eventually named a starter at inside linebacker after the Rams traded linebacker Alec Ogletree to the New York Giants and flourished in his new role before being even elevated as the shot-caller on defense in the 2019 NFL season. He finished the year with a career-high 134 tackles, 3.5 sacks, nine pass deflections, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries.
The 26-year-old has now established himself as the best linebacker set to hit the market and the fact that his prime years are still ahead of him should garner a lucrative price tag. The prospect of signing Littleton would undoubtedly provide a major boost to a Raiders linebacker corps that was scraping the bottom of the barrel for starting talent last season.
Although it remains to be seen whether or not the Rams will make signing Littleton a priority this offseason, it appears the Raiders plan on giving them a run for their money either way.
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