General manager Reggie McKenzie has done a fantastic job managing his roster and addressing the needs of the Oakland Raiders. During the 2017 NFL offseason, McKenzie has acquired hometown hero Marshawn Lynch, signed free agents like Jelani Jenkins and used the 2017 NFL Draft to address the defense.
McKenzie sat down for an interview with J.T. The Brick, discussing the Lynch signing, the 2017 NFL Draft and the improvements on the roster. During the interview, the Raiders general manager discussed fifth-round selection Marquel Lee.
During the interview, J.T. The Brick opened up on Lee’s potential, asking if he could be considered a serious starter at the linebacker position. Although the Raiders are high on Lee, McKenzie expects some continued success and production once the team goes into the official 2017 season:
“We definitely think he has the potential to start. He is a long ways away from that, we haven’t even begun to get the pads on. A lot will be determined during training camp and preseason, but so far he has looked very well. At the time, as far as linebackers at that point, he was just the best guy on the board.”
Lee was the first linebacker the Raiders took in the draft, a position many NFL aficionados consider their weakness. Although Malcolm Smith departed for the San Francisco 49ers, the Raiders combatted the loss early on with the signing of Jenkins. However, Lee is a special talent coming into the NFL, with aspirations to start on the Raiders.
During his senior year at Wake Forest University, he accumulated 105 total tackles (63 solo), along with 20 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Although the 6’3″, 240 lbs. linebacker had a poor showing at the NFL Draft Combine, the Raiders hold an optimistic approach moving forward.
Next up in the discussion was about Lynch, the offseason acquisition and expected starter. While his antics are loved on social media, fans want to hear about him on the inside. McKenzie’s snippet gave just what fans expected, with Lynch getting acclimated his new teammates:
“He’s been great. He’s been great in meetings and great on the field…Off the field, he’s been great with the team. He’s meshed very well. He’s already well entrenched as being one of the guys. It’s going very well with him amongst the team.”
Lynch has run drills with his starting unit, alongside the offensive line and Derek Carr. Their deadly offense has only gotten better this offseason, putting the Raiders in elite standings entering 2017.