A big topic of debate in Raider Nation is what our starting linebackers will look like. It is almost a given that Rolando McClain will start in the middle. And though Cable said not to put much thought into what we see at practice, Organized Team Activities suggest that Kamerion Wimbley is the starting strong-side-linebacker.
So who will be the Raiders' third starting linebacker?
It would seem as though there are two fan favorites and Raider Nation seems to be split on the two. Many Raider fans seem to love one and hate the other.
The first choice is Trevor Scott. Last year he played in all 16 games. He played the first 10 games as a defensive end until he was promoted to starter at weakside outside linebacker following injuries to Jon Alston and Ricky Brown. He finished 2009 with 43 tackles and seven sacks.
Scott has at least one man standing between him and a starting role—Thomas Howard.
Last year Howard played in all 16 games, starting in 15 of them. Throughout the season he amassed 79 tackles, two sacks, six passes defended, and a forced fumble.
Neither linebacker is perfect as both have their flaws.
Howard at 6'3'', 240 pounds is undersized and struggles to fight off blocks which often results in him being blocked out of the play. But on the other hand he is a solid tackler and is the best cover linebacker the Raiders have.
Scott on the other hand just is not a natural linebacker. He started six games at linebacker in which he was able to amass four sacks. He was often out of place against the run and looked lost dropping back into coverage. But Scott is the best pass rusher and excels as a blitzer. And at 6'5'', 255 pounds he has great size for a linebacker and is able to stand strong at the point of attack and shed blockers better than Howard.
In my opinion, Howard is the better linebacker hands down. Scott is no more than a situational player who has no business playing linebacker.
I would like to know what the rest of Raider Nation thinks.
Ricky Brown, Travis Goethel, Quentin Groves, David Nixon, Slade Norris, and Sam Williams, though unlikely and not nearly as popular as Howard and Scott, all have an outside chance to start as well.