Las Vegas Raiders’ linebacker Cory Littleton “moves like a DB in a linebacker’s body.”
The Las Vegas Raiders bolstered their linebacker corps in the offseason properly addressing the position for the first time in what seemed like forever. And no addition was more impactful than the signing of Cory Littleton.
After ignoring the position for far too long, the Raiders finally dished out big money for arguably the best linebacker on the market handing Littleton a three-year, $36 million contract in the offseason.
Littleton had spent the first four years of his career with the Los Angeles Rams quietly developing into one of the better off-ball linebackers in the league. A former undrafted free agent, Littleton managed to become a centerpiece of a talented Rams defense by the time of his departure.
And he’s quickly making a strong first impression with his new team.
"“He moves like a DB but he’s in a linebacker body. The days of the 265-pound linebacker who doesn’t leave the hashes, that’s tough in today’s game.”"
At just 228 pounds, Littleton is much smaller than the linebackers of yesteryear. Gone are the 260-pound thumpers who excelled in run defense but offered little in pass-coverage.
In today’s NFL, teams have been forced to adapt to the changing landscape of football offenses with leaner, quicker linebackers preferred over bigger, immobile ones. If they can defend against the pass, that’s an added bonus.
Littleton can do just that as evidenced by his excellent 82.3 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus which ranked seventh among all qualified off-ball linebackers.
Cory Littleton should provide a huge boost to the Raiders’ pass defense.
It’s been far too long since the Raiders have had a player like Littleton patrolling the middle of their defense and the hope is that his addition can take a defense that improved in many ways last season to the next level.
Perhaps the last time the Raiders had linebackers who were capable in pass coverage is all the way back in 2007 when the duo of Thomas Howard and Kirk Morrison combined for 10 interceptions.
Those days are long gone. But hopefully the era of Cory Littleton could provide a return to that reality.
And if first impressions are anything to go off of, that might just be the case.