Del Rio: Raiders haven't 'adequately addressed' middle linebacker spot

Del Rio: Raiders haven't 'adequately addressed' middle linebacker spot

The Raiders needed linebacker help entering the NFL Draft, especially in the middle. That hasn’t changed, even after taking Wake Forest’s Marquel Lee in the fifth round.

The Raiders took a cornerback, a safety and a defensive tackle in the first three rounds, supplementing talent-needy position groups.

A void remains in the eye of the storm. General manager Reggie McKenzie said before the draft he’d like to add a couple inside linebackers to the roster. Lee is one. Head coach Jack Del Rio believes another should be coming down the line. 

McKenzie wants to evaluate those currently on the team before looking for outside help. Del Rio considers it imperative the Raiders add more talent to an inexperienced, largely unheralded group.

“I don’t know that we’ve adequately addressed our middle linebacker position, to be honest,” Del Rio said Thursday afternoon on NFL Network. “I think we have some work to do there. The rest of our roster is pretty well situated, but we’ll be looking for a linebacker and we’ll continue to look, whether it’s the waiver wire, trades or available guys out there, veterans on the street. We’ll continue to look.

“The guys that are here, we’re going to develop and grow and hope we can take them to a higher level.”

McKenzie said the door isn’t completely closed on Perry Riley, who started 11 games at middle linebacker for the Raiders last season and remains on the open market.

Free agent signing Jelani Jenkins is viewed more as a weakside linebacker.

Lee, second-year pro Cory James, and third-year man Ben Heeney are currently in the mix to play at middle linebacker. The rookie is untested at the NFL level, and the other options need more consistency and time to develop.

Adding another player would certainly help the Raiders, who have struggled to find answers at that position in free agency or with later-round picks in the NFL Draft.

Raiders' Mark Davis sweating Allegiant Stadium construction timeline

Getty Images

Raiders' Mark Davis sweating Allegiant Stadium construction timeline

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis said construction crews are working against the clock as they mount a final push to complete Allegiant Stadium ahead of a July 31 deadline.

Speaking Monday morning on ESPN Radio 1100’s “The Press Box,” co-hosted by Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney, Davis touched on how crews have worked around the constraints created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“You think everything is going great and everything is on time and all of a sudden real life steps in the way,” Davis said. “You have to be prepared for those types of issues.”

Mortenson-McCarthy reported last week that 15 trade workers on the project are currently home with the coronavirus.



Maxx Crosby gets Raiders logo tattoo after breakout 2019 rookie season

Maxx Crosby gets Raiders logo tattoo after breakout 2019 rookie season

Another member of the Raiders' 2019 NFL draft class is committing himself to the team.

Defensive lineman Maxx Crosby showed off his new tattoo of the Raiders' logo Monday, one week after running back Josh Jacobs and defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell did the same.

While Jacobs and Ferrell were first-round picks, Crosby was a fourth-round selection, and put together an impressive rookie campaign.

In 16 games, Crosby had 47 total tackles, 10 sacks, 16 tackles for loss and 14 quarterback hits.

With Crosby, Jacobs and Ferrell, Las Vegas' newest professional sports team has the building blocks to be very successful over the next decade.

[RELATED: Crosby was everything Gruden hoped for]

It's way too early to tell what the future holds for the trio, but based on the new ink, Crosby, Jacobs and Ferrell want to stay with the Raiders ... permanently.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]