Raiders camp preview: Team is rich with depth at the linebacker position

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The Oakland Raiders currently have 11 linebackers on the roster. Kaelin Burnett, younger brother of Kevin Burnett, will be entering his third season and was signed to the Raiders as an undrafted free agent out of Nevada in 2012. Kaelin has totaled 12 tackles and one forced fumble and has been playing on special teams primarily. Older brother Kevin is entering his tenth year in the NFL, having spent four seasons in Dallas, two in San Diego, and two in Miami before coming to the Raiders in 2013 as a free agent. Kevin has totaled 105 tackles, two and a half sacks, one interception, and has forced three fumbles as a Raider.

In the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Raiders selected Miles Burris out of San Diego State University. During his rookie season, he logged 96 tackles, of which 62 were solo, one and a half sacks, one interception, and he defended three passes. Burris was on the PUP list for the bulk of the 2013 season, but in the six games that he was active for, he logged four tackles. Former St. Louis Ram Justin Cole will be joining the Raiders for his fourth season in the NFL. Before Coles was in St. Louis, he was signed by the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2010. Cole was signed as a reserve/future free agent.

Carlos Fields joins the Raiders as an undrafted free agent following the 2014 NFL Draft. Fields played college football at Winston-Salem State where his totals included 321 tackles, eight sacks, five interceptions, and 34.5 tackles were for a loss. After this year’s Raiders rookie minicamp, Bojay Filimoeatu was signed as an undrafted free agent. Filimoeatu played two years at Utah State where he totaled 112 tackles, 20 of which were for loss, and eight sacks.

The Raiders first pick of the draft this year was Khalil Mack out of the University of Buffalo. While at Buffalo, Mack was named the NCAA’s all-team leader with 16 forced fumbles. His 75 tackles for loss are a modern day NCAA record and over the course of his college career, Mack totaled 327 tackles, 28.5 sacks, four interceptions, defended 21 passes, and also totaled 31 QB pressures.

In the 2009 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Kaluka Maiava out of USC and he didn’t join the Raiders until 2013 as a free agent. Over the course of his five year career, he has logged 150 tackles, 109 of which were solo tackles, four and a half sacks, five passes defended, and he forced five fumbles. The Pittsburgh Steelers originally signed Marshall McFadden as an undrafted free agent in 2012. McFadden went on to join the Raiders practice squad in September 2013 and that following December, he was signed to the active roster. McFadden played college football at South Carolina State where he logged more than 300 tackles.

Sio Moore is entering his second year as a Raider. Moore was drafted in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. His rookie season saw 50 tackles, four and a half sacks, and one fumble recovery. Moore also earned NFL’s Pepsi Next Rookie of the Week because of his performance against the Steelers where he recorded eight tackles and one and a half sacks.

In 2007, the San Diego Chargers signed Nick Roach as an undrafted free agent and he went on to join the Chicago Bears that season. The Raiders signed Roach as a free agent in March 2013 and he went on to play every defensive snap and logged 112 tackles, five and a half sacks, and also four forced fumbles.

It’s at this point in the training camp previews that all of Raider Nation should start to notice a trend. The ever popular “keep your eye on so-and-so because if he’s healthy, watch out”. Burris is definitely on this ever growing list for training camp. It will be exciting to see more production out of Moore in his second year. And of course expectations are already soaring for the Raiders’ first round draft pick Mack.

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