Raiders Draft Preview: Pick or Pass – Linebackers
Micah Parsons
Nov 9, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates after sacking the Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (not pictured) in the second half at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The quickest way for me to find out if a national reporter is paying attention to the Las Vegas Raiders is whether or not they’ve got a linebacker mocked at No. 17. Has it been a seemingly eternal need for the Raiders? Yes. But is it still a glaring need? Absolutely not.

As of today, the Raiders are paying Cory Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski and Nicholas Morrow $23.5 million to be the team’s starting linebackers. Are those three guys worth that kind of money? 2021 will go a long way towards answering that, but as of now, this is probably the only spot on the defense that isn’t worth addressing in round one.

So what’s the point of this post? Despite everything I just said being true, there still seem to be whispers and rumblings connecting the Raiders to a linebacker. A year from now, Littleton is still sure to be a Raider given the size of his dead cap hit ($10.5 million), but Morrow will be a free agent, and Kwiatkoski can be released with just a $2.7 million dead cap hit.

On top of that, there are a few really intriguing linebackers that might find their way down to No. 17: Micah Parsons, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Jamin Davis

Jamin Davis
Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Jamin Davis (44) comes up with a fumbles ball during a football game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. Nov. 28, 2020. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]Flgai 112820 Ufvs Kentucky 28
Jamin Davis, ILB, Kentucky

Big board ranks: No. 28 (McShay), No. 53 (Brugler), No. 14 (Kiper)

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 234

Arm: 33

Hand: 9 1/2

Vertical: 42

Broad: 132

Bench: 21 reps

40-yard: 4.37

Measurement Analysis: If you thought Parsons’ numbers were explosive, Davis did his best to one-up his counterpart. He’s 12 pounds lighter, but he ran an absurd 4.37, posted a 42″ vertical and an 11′ broad jump — which placed him in the 100th, 99th and 100th percentiles, respectively. All for a guy who is 6’3″ and 234 pounds.

Tape Analysis: This is the Jason Oweh of the linebacking group: the traits and athleticism are tantalizing, but the tape can get worrisome at times. I know the word gets thrown around a lot, but the best word I’ve got for Davis is “raw.” There are plays where he gets swallowed up by a tight end blocking, or where he misses an open-field tackle — and then there are plays where the explosiveness reflected in his pro day numbers pops out at you.

Micah Parsons
Nov 9, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates after sacking the Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (not pictured) in the second half at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Micah Parsons, ILB, Penn State

Big board ranks: No. 7 (McShay), No. 12 (Brugler), No. 11 (Kiper)

Height: 6’3″

Weight: 246

Arm: 31 1/2

Hand: 11

Vertical: 34

Broad: 126

Bench: 19 reps

40-yard: 4.39

Short shuttle: 4.40

3-cone: 6.94

Measurement Analysis: 6’3″, 246 pounds, and the guy ran a 4.39 while broad jumping 10’6″. I mean….what can you say? Consider Parsons alongside Jason Oweh, his teammate from Penn State, and a defensive end pegged as a first-rounder despite having zero sacks last season. Oweh’s projection is based entirely on his freakish measurables — and yet Parsons, who has performed on the field, ran the same 40-time while giving up just 11 pounds to Oweh.

Film Analysis: Before opting out last season, Parsons ended the 2020 year as Todd McShay’s No. 6 draft prospect thanks to a dominant sophomore season with 109 total tackles, 14 for a loss, five sacks and four forced fumbles. Two things have worked against Parsons since, much like offensive tackle Penei Sewell, I think there is some fatigue with guys who sat out, and their stock has inexplicably been hurt. Secondly, however, some questions off-the-field stem from his alleged involvement in harassing former teammate Isaiah Humphries. On the field? There’s nothing to poke holes in. He’s built like a defensive end but has the ability to be a thumper in the middle of a defense.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Apr 13, 2019; Notre Dame, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Jafar Armstrong (8) carries the ball as linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (30) defends in the first quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, ILB/OLB, Notre Dame

Big board ranks: No. 11 (McShay), No. 15 (Brugler), No. 19 (Kiper)

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 221

Arm: 33

Hand: 8 7/8

Vertical: 37

Broad: 124

Short shuttle: 4.15

3-cone: 6.80

Measurement Analysis: The smallest of this group by a long shot, you can see why some folks project Owusu-Koramoah as more of an outside linebacker at the next level. That said, the short shuttle and 3-cone times both place him among the top 15% of linebackers (as does his broad jump). He didn’t run the 40 due to hamstring tightness.

Film Analysis: I watched tape of Owusu-Koramoah against both Clemson and Notre Dame, and two things showed up: the athleticism and his lack of elite size. He looked comfortable in coverage and rushing the passer, but when it came to putting his nose into a pile against the run, his 6’1″ 221-pound frame showed up. He probably projects best as an outside linebacker or hybrid safety at the next level.


  1. Micah Parsons — PICK
  2. Jamin Davis — PASS
  3. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah — PASS

The gap between Davis and Owusu-Koramoah is razor-thin, and it’s entirely a matter of preference. One guy has all the traits you’re looking for but lacks the refinement you’d hope for, while the other lacks the size you might like but has some great film. In both cases, the lack of a need for a linebacker makes them both an easy “pass.” On the other hand, Parsons is too good to pass up (assuming the background stuff checks out). While there might not be an obvious pathway to contributing in 2021, he could line up as a pass-rusher and would be pushing all three starters immediately. And in 2022? He’s the new anchor of the Raider defense.