The Oakland Raiders announced on Tuesday that they have signed for linebacker Dakota Allen off the Los Angeles Rams practice squad while placing linebacker Marquel Lee on the Reserve/Injured list heading into Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Raiders were dealt a second straight blowout loss at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 and they now sit with a 1-2 record to start the 2019 NFL season. To make matters worse, three of their starting linebackers suffered injuries and their status remains cloudy moving forward.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict is trying to recover from an elbow injury that sidelined him briefly against the Vikings. Meanwhile, Lee and linebacker Nicholas Morrow suffered ankle injuries and the former is now slated to miss a good chunk of the season after being placed on IR.
The timing of the injury is hardly ideal for Lee. He was just on the verge of finding his footing on defense after dealing with his fair share of coaching changes and injuries during his first two seasons in Oakland.
He is one of the few players remaining from prior to the arrival of head coach Jon Gruden after being taken in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Lee will now be forced to miss at least the next eight games before he can make his return from the ankle injury.
The Raiders are now doing what they can to find ways to shore up some depth to their thin linebacker corps. Allen will seemingly have an opportunity to contribute right away in this depleted group.
With Lee out, the only other healthy linebackers currently listed on the team are Tahir Whitehead and Kyle Wilber. While the veteran Whitehead should provide some much-needed stability in the wake of all the recent injuries, Wilber has largely served as a special teams player throughout his career.
As a result, Oakland may very well be forced to take their chances with Allen against a Colts offense that has managed to stay afloat following the sudden retirement of quarterback Andrew Luck this offseason.
Allen was taken by the Rams in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft following an intriguing college career that had been briefly featured on Netflix’s ‘Last Chance U,’ before finishing off at Texas Tech. Although he managed to show plenty of promise during training camp and the preseason in Los Angeles, he was ultimately waived during final cuts and subsequently signed to the practice squad.
It remains to be seen if Allen will make his NFL debut this week as it will depend on the health of both Burfict and Morrow.
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