The Raiders acquired outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley on Sunday, in exchange for the Raiders' second third round pick in this year's draft. John Herrera, senior executive with the team, confirmed that the Raiders will give up the 85th overall pick which was originally acquired in the deal that sent Derrick Burgess to the New England Patriots last offseason.
Although this offseason barely qualifies as a fire sale for Cleveland, the Browns are sending one of their top five players and arguably their best pass rusher to the Raiders.
In Wimbley, the Raiders acquire a 6-3, 255 lb. outside linebacker who was well equipped to play in the Browns' 3-4 scheme as a pass rushing specialist, but will have to make an adjustment to the Raiders' 4-3 attack.
Wimbley, now entering his fourth year out of Florida State, started his career well, posting 11 sacks as a rookie and garnering some consideration for the league's Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2006.
Although Wimbley has only recorded 9.5 sacks in the following two seasons, many people around the Browns organization felt he was the team's second best player (other than defensive tackle Shaun Rogers) in terms of athleticism and productivity. Furthermore, despite only posting 6.5 sacks last season (good for second on last season's Raiders defense), Wimbley's play was revitalized under Head Coach Eric Mangini.
It will be interesting to see how the Raiders will play Wimbley, either as a rush end or a strongside linebacker. Wimbley was a defensive end in college but his size made him a better option as a 3-4 rush linebacker with Cleveland.
In recent years, the Raiders have always seemed to have trouble filling the strongside linebacker spot, but with the acquisition of Wimbley, things could get interesting in the fall.
Wimbley's main competition for the strongside spot will be Ricky Brown. The coaching staff really likes Brown's versatility as a defender and the tenacity and speed with which he plays.
Sam Williams is an unrestricted free agent and although he's struggled as a regular linebacker, there's a good chance he will stay in Oakland because of his contributions on special teams.
Last offseason, the Raiders also experimented with Brown in the middle and considered moving Kirk Morrison the strongside spot. Morrison and Brown are restricted free agents due to the uncapped year and should they both remain in Oakland, the coaching staff will certainly have options as to where and how to use them.
Wimbley is also an option at the weakside defensive end spot for the Raiders. With the release of veteran Greg Ellis, Wimbley would come in to compete against second-year man Matt Shaughnessy.
You would think Wimbley would have the upper hand because of experience, but the staff likes how Shaughnessy developed in the latter half of the season. Furthermore, while Wimbley isn't terrible against the run, his specialty is definitely as a pass rusher, and one of the reasons why the team released Ellis was because they thought Shaugnessy would provide better production against the run.
Still, despite the uncertainty of where Wimbley will end up on defense, it's the sort of problem a coaching staff likes to have. Despite the emergence of Scott and Shaughnessy, it isn't far-fetched to say Wimbley might be the best option at either spot.
Wimbley's combination of athleticism, production and experience will be a valuable addition to the Raiders' defense, provided that the staff utilizes him in the best way—as a regular contributor at strongside linebacker and as a situational defensive end on passing downs.
Wimbley to Bolster Raiders' Pass Rush
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