Cory Littleton
The Raiders acquired a game-changing chess piece with Cory Littleton. The former Rams linebacker has a chance to change the fortunes of the Vegas defense. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas and have a bunch of roster deficiencies they need to fill. A lot of fans want to push Derek Carr out the door but there was no bigger problem for the Raiders than on the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders gave up a paltry 26.2 points per game in 2019 which was the 9th worst mark in the NFL. None of the teams that ranked below them made the postseason. You can’t win if you have a very bad defense. The Raiders took a step to fixing that for the better. Vegas added a game-changing chess piece with the addition of Cory Littleton.

The Raiders had a literal black hole at the linebacker position. Notorious great guy, Vontaze Burfict got suspended early in the season. The Raiders don’t have a reliable linebacker on the roster. Not one. Well, things are about to change. There is no more black hole. Cory Littleton is going to change things for the better.

Let me go back to this because I don’t think people understand how bad the Raiders’ linebackers were last year. When targeted in coverage, Raider linebackers allowed a passer rating of 122. That was the 2nd worst mark in the NFL. On 155 targets in coverage, Raider linebackers forced an incompletion on just 3.2 percent of the time. They also allowed 10 touchdowns and one interception.

That further exemplifies what the Raiders were putting out there at linebacker. Slow, old, and dudes who can’t cover. Enter Cory Littleton.

Cory Littleton

Littleton, 26, went undrafted out of the University of Washington in 2016. Littleton isn’t a burner but he has enough juice with 4.76 speed and is a tall, lanky linebacker who can cover. The Raiders landed his with a 3-year deal worth $36 million which is a reasonable price tag too. Littleton brings a skillset that the Raiders don’t have; linebackers that can cover.

Over the last two years, Cory Littleton has 18 pass break ups with six interceptions. He also had 134 tackles from a year ago. Littleton has range and great instincts. The former Rams linebacker also has 7.5 sacks the last two years. He can get after the quarterback a little bit too.

This is a big gain for the Raiders and a huge loss for the Rams. Cory Littleton was the glue that held the Rams defense together. He brings that glue to Raiders. Credit to Las Vegas because they added Nick Kwiatkowski who is a huge piece. Nobody knows his name but this was a great linebacker for the Bears who sort of fell under the radar with Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan on the same roster. Vegas really upgraded its linebacker unit which should create a much better defense in 2020.