Raiders sign veteran Kyle Emanuel to bolster their linebacker depth

Raiders (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Raiders (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders have reportedly signed veteran linebacker Kyle Emanuel.

The Las Vegas Raiders finally overhauled the linebacker position in the offseason after years of disappointment. And for the first time in a long time, the team might actually have a reliable linebacker corps.

But it seems as though that overhaul isn’t complete just yet. At least that’s the feeling following a report on Saturday that the Raiders signed veteran linebacker Kyle Emanuel.

As first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Raiders are signing Emanuel more than a year after the former Los Angeles Chargers linebacker retired.

According to Pelissero, multiple teams were interested but he opted to come to Las Vegas because he felt he had a good chance of winning.

Kyle Emanuel has plenty of experience starting with the Raiders’ division foes.

A fifth-round pick of the Chargers back in 2015, Emanuel spent his entire four-year career playing for the Raiders’ division rivals before surprisingly retiring in the 2019 offseason.

He cited injury concerns as a reason for his sudden retirement, but Emanuel reportedly drew interest from a variety of teams this summer and ultimately decided to come out of retirement.

A four-time FCS national champion at North Dakota State, Emanuel was awarded the Buck Buchanan Award in 2014 which is given to the best defensive player in the FCS.

Emanuel soon found a role in the Chargers’ defense starting 32 games over his four-year stint with the team including 11 games apiece in 2016 and 2017.

Primarily an outside linebacker, Emanuel has experience playing off-ball linebacker or edge rusher. In his final couple of years in Los Angeles, Emanuel was primarily used as an off-ball linebacker, particularly on the string side.

And that’s likely where he has his best chance of sticking around with the Raiders.

Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski were signed in the offseason to bolster the Raiders’ linebacker corps and the expectation is that those two offseason additions will be team’s starting linebackers in the nickel defense.

Emanuel’s best chance of finding a role on defense will e in the base 4-3 defense as a strongside linebacker. The release of Marquel Lee earlier in the summer helps his cause, but he’ll still have to compete with guys like Nicholas Morrow, rookie Tanner Muse, and others.

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Either way, expect Emanuel to make a strong case for a roster spot one way or another.