Quentin Groves to the Oakland Raiders: Small Trade, Big Statement
A check of the Raiders official site confirmed that Groves had been acquired by Oakland for an undisclosed draft pick.
Given Groves' lack of production since he was drafted 52nd overall in 2008, it is likely to be a low pick (now confirmed as the fifth rounder acquired from the Patriots).
What stands out here, though, is not the fact that Groves has been traded to Oakland, but that he has immediately been listed as a linebacker. At Jacksonville he played defensive end.
He also played defensive end at Auburn.
Groves fits the Raiders profile. He is 6' 3", 265 lbs, and ran a 4.57 40 coming out of college, which is an impressive combination.
But why is he suddenly being listed at linebacker?
When you look at it in tandem with the Kamerion Wimbley trade, it is clear something is going on here. Many felt that Wimbley would be used at defensive end in Oakland, his former college position, but the Raiders have him listed at strong side linebacker.
So despite Tom Cable's denial that the Raiders are moving to a 3-4 defense, the evidence strongly suggests otherwise. Why else would the Raiders move two defensive ends to linebacker (Trevor Scott/Quentin Groves), and also grab another 3-4 backer in Wimbley?
If Oakland takes defensive tackle Dan Williams in the first round, or indeed a nose tackle at all in the first three rounds, then you can bet a 3-4 alignment for 2010 is on the cards.
They already have other linemen able to play in this system such as Richard Seymour, and Tommy Kelly could easily move to being a five-technique end. Nose tackle is the only missing piece here.
Where Matt Shaugnessy might play isn't yet clear.
Of course it is possible that some sort of experiment is in place to use 3-4 outside linebackers in a 4-3 defense, but two trades is a lot to give up for something that has not been tried.
Alternatively they may think that, with Groves size and athletic ability, he could make the transition to middle linebacker?
Whatever the answer, something is definitely up in Oakland.
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