Instead of adding players this offseason, the Oakland Raiders have begun the process of stripping their roster, as they try to fit their players under the salary cap. Guys like cornerback Sean Smith and right tackle Marshall Newhouse are both gone, leaving the team with some glaring holes at that position. In addition, NaVorro Bowman, their star linebacker is an unrestricted free agent, so they may need to find his replacement via the draft.
If the Raiders do decide to pick a linebacker with the tenth overall pick, they should look to Georgia’s Roquan Smith. Many experts rate Smith as the best overall linebacker in this draft class, and he fills an immediate role in the middle of new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s system. His scheme is based on having strong, smart middle linebackers, and Smith fits that description perfectly.
Smith led his Bulldogs to a national title appearance last season, as he carried them through the SEC title game, and the College Football Playoff semifinal round. He seems to play his best football in the biggest spots, which is something you cannot teach. The Raiders have a hole in the middle of their defense, especially if Bowman does not return, so this pick makes a lot of sense to round out the top ten picks in April.