Two years ago, the Raiders spent their first-round draft pick on Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain. McClain along with Aaron Curry and Kamerion Wimbley teamed up to form a solid linebacking trio in 2011. However, many expect the Raiders to switch to a 3-4 defense in 2012, which means adding another linebacker is imperative.
The Raiders will be in search of someone with pass-rushing ability but who also possesses the instincts to drop back into coverage. A player like Mychal Kendricks from Cal appears to fit the mold of the type of athlete Oakland is looking for.
Quentin Groves and Darryl Blackstock got some looks last year, but it remains to be seen if either of them can thrive in a new scheme. It would be wise of Oakland to select a player who is familiar with the 3-4 so he can complement McClain and Wimbley, two players with experience in that system.
Once again, the Raiders will be hurt by not having an early selection, which will remove elite prospects such as Alabama's Courtney Upshaw from the table. However, if the Raiders can find some value later on at this position in the draft, they would be wise to use a pick on a linebacker.