Either the Raiders are going to make a move or two with their linebackers or they’re going to have to get a bigger meeting room.
Following the selection of Rolando McClain with their first round pick, the Raiders have 11 linebackers on the roster.
ILB-OLB Ricky Brown, special teams and former contender to start in the middle
LB Isaiah Ekejiuba, a linebacker in name only, a core special teams player.
OLB Quintin Groves, a defensive/end linebacker who is listed as a linebacker on Raiders.com on their roster.
OLB Thomas Howard, a second-round draft pick and a starter since his rookie year. Chances are he’s not starting this year.
MLB Kirk Morrison, the leading tackler for the last five years, due $2.512 million, and probably on his way out one way or another.
OLB David Nixon, practice squad promotion last year who went to camp in 2009 as an undrafted free agent.
OLB Slade Norris, a fourth-round pick last year who didn’t make the 53-man roster, was promoted late in the year and ended season on I.R.
OLB Trevor Scott, moved from defensive end to weakside linebacker, the position Cable said he will play in 2010.
OLB Kamerion Wimbley, acquired from Cleveland for a third-round draft pick, will start on the strong side.
OLB Sam Williams, erstwhile former third-round pick who is at this point a special teams player.
Let’s go ahead assume Texas outside linebacker Sergio Kindle is not an option today, even if he falls to No. 39, unless defensive coordinator John Marshall is tinkering with a 2-6-3 alignment.
If the Raiders make a move with Morrison, it would most likely affect Saturday’s picks than those of today.
The moment McClain was drafted, Morrison’s trade value dropped. Opposing teams realize that with his salary, there is little or no chance he’ll be on the roster this season. With that information, many teams will simply wait until Morrison is cut, then they cans sign him to a lower figure.
The Raiders are known for wanting top dollar, but in Morrison’s case, the market isn’t going to bring them what they hoped to get _ the third-round tender placed on him as a restricted free agency.
Howard’s sitaution is also tenuous, given the commitment to Scott on the weakside and the ability of Mike Mitchell to move into the box in some defensive alignments.
Despite all the starts and tackles, Morrison and Howard aren’t going to bring much in return.
If you want a comp, as they say in the real estate business, look at Ernie Sims, dealt from Detroit to Philadelphia in a three-way deal. Sims, like Morrison and Howard, piled up a lot of tackles on a poor defensive team. But when dealt to Philadelphia in a three-way trade, the Lions got tight end Tony Scheffler and all the Eagles parted with to get Sims was a fifth-round draft pick. Howard was a second-round pick, No. 38 overall.
The Raiders could use Morrison or Howard to pick up an extra late-round pick, or even simply to move up a few spots if they see a player they truly want.
Either that or hold the linebackers meeting at next week’s minicamp in the auditorium.