Oakland Raiders: Realistic options at No. 4 during the 2019 NFL Draft

Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images /
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Oakland Raiders
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images /

Devin White, ILB, LSU

The Raiders are embarking on what has become their annual search for a premier (or even mostly competent) middle linebacker. While they could choose to address this by bringing in an established veteran via free agency to plug the hole, they could stop the cycle altogether by taking a young talent like Devin White at No. 4 overall.

At 6-2, 240 pounds, White has terrific size. More than that though, he has the speed to go sideline to sideline and is rock solid against both the run and the pass. It’s a quality the Raiders haven’t seen out of their middle linebacker position in quite some time.

White is relentlessly aggressive, has fantastic closing speed on the ballcarrier, can change direction on a dime and has a very high football IQ, meaning he can diagnose plays very quickly.

If there are knocks to be found against White, it’s that his aggressiveness can sometimes lead him to take bad angles or over-pursue. He can also have trouble shedding blockers. Both of those issues can be mitigated by getting him coached up to use better technique.

White is compared favorably with the Chicago Bears’ Roquan Smith and Tennessee Titans’ Rashaan Evans, though scouts say that White has the ability and upside to be better than both of them.

Yeah, the Raiders can try to plug in another veteran, but they could also stabilize the position for years to come with a young linebacker who’s proven himself to be an aggressive, passionate, intelligent player.