The last few days have been so confusing regarding Oakland Raiders' outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley. After numerous rumors and speculations, the gist of the entire story is that the Raiders will release Wimbley if he refuses to take a pay cut (according to NFL.com's Jason LaConfora), which is very likely to happen. ESPN.com's Bill Williamson says Wimbley will not take a pay cut and expects him to be released.
First off, I'd just like to say I'm very upset over this. I know that football is a game and loyalty is hard to come by nowadays, but Wimbley was considered a first-round bust that no one cared about anymore. Al Davis (doing what he does best) took Wimbley in, gave him a chance to redeem himself and rewarded him with a new contract.
How does Wimbley repay the late Al Davis? He has the type of season that made him forgotten on the Browns team in the first place. Now he puts the Raiders in a tight spot that makes them either pay him $6.5 million to play on a different team, or keep him and have his massive contract become a burden for future years to come.
But alas, the NFL is a business and things like this happen all the time. What do I suggest? Cut him loose. If he demands such a contract for such mediocre play, he can do that somewhere else while the Raiders draft someone else to fill his 40 million dollar shoes.
With such limited picks, it's hard to find someone who can do the job Wimbley did. He is, without a doubt, a great player that is certainly hard to replace. But I'm sure you knew I wouldn't be writing this article if I hadn't found some players who could provide the same impact.
As usual, I'd like to educate you all on more than just one player. I found two great players who should be around when it's time for the Raiders to draft.
The first is Demario Davis of Arkansas State. Davis had a good season and a really good combine. He isn't the heaviest guy at 6'2" 235 pounds, but he packs a punch. He did 32 reps at the bench press during the combine, which was the best out of all of the linebackers.
Davis has good instincts and is a physical tackler. He is somewhat of a poor man's Vontaze Burfict, or should I say what Burfict was supposed to be. The only difference is that Davis has self control.
The one issue that I had with Davis was that he was not a crazy tackler. Sure, he's a technician and usually gets the tackle, but he isn't the guy that will wow you in any way. When you see the great linebackers in the NFL today like Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis, you fear them when they line up. From the game play I watched, Davis doesn't seem to have that same effect.
Now, the star player of this article doesn't exactly have that same effect either, but he is extraordinary. Miles Burris of San Diego State does something that not many can. I don't know how he does it, but when Burris finds the ball, he shifts to a completely different gear and flies towards it.
He's both smart and a really good pass rusher. Watching his highlight reel, I saw a a number of reverses and plays of that sort, and Burris was always keeping containment and bringing the ball carrier down for a sack.
On one play, I saw Burris a good 10 yards away from the receiver. Burris set his eyes on the player and went on the hunt, eventually bringing him down and forcing the fumble. Those kinds of plays show what kind of motor Burris really has.
Burris is a built like a defensive end, but plays the game like a linebacker. This is perfect if the Raiders play in the 3-4 as suspected. He has good pass-rushing skills, but is also really good when playing the stretch-run plays. He keeps blockers at bay and gets to the ball carrier with ease.
He is better built than Davis; the two are the same height, but Burris is 10 pounds heavier. He decided not to run the 40-yard dash, but benched 31 reps, one short of Davis. While it's disappointing that Burris did not run the 40, you can see he is very fast on the field. What the 40 cannot show is Burris' ability to shift to another gear and run down any defender.
The only problem I see with Burris is his pass-coverage skills are not the greatest. However, if the Raiders do switch to a 3-4 and release Kamerion Wimbley, they will need a pass-rushing linebacker. Burris has the potential to be the Raiders' version of Clay Matthews.
Now, this pick completely depends on what defense the Raiders play. Demario Davis is a better fit for a 4-3 defense as he possesses good pass-rush skills and better coverage skills. Burris is the better 3-4 player with better pass-rush ability. I decided to focus more on Burris because I, like many others, am speculating that the Raiders do switch to a 3-4.