Oakland Raiders sign OLB Malcolm Smith

Malcolm Smith follows his former linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. to Oakland, where he is now the defensive coordinator. That makes sense, but it’s not clear what his role will be in Oakland. The Raiders paid him 7 million over 2 years, which suggests he’ll be a starter, after spending most of his career as a reserve in Seattle. Free agent signing Curtis Lofton is locked in at middle linebacker, while Khalil Mack is locked in as the two-down linebacker in base packages (moving to the defensive line in sub packages as an edge rusher). That leaves Smith to compete with Sio Moore, a 2013 3rd round pick who has been solid in 22 starts in his first 2 seasons in the NFL.

I don’t know if Smith can beat him out. Malcolm Smith was Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl 47, one of the more anonymous Super Bowl MVP’s in NFL history. Smith played a good game, but there were more deserving candidates, as Smith didn’t even play half the snaps in that game (34 of 71). He just happened to make a few splash plays that we remember. Smith also wasn’t even a starter that season, playing just 490 snaps. He was still Pro Football Focus’ 6th ranked 4-3 outside linebacker that season, despite the limited action, with no one playing more snaps and grading out better. However, he’s still graded out above average in just 2 of 4 seasons and he’s only once played more than 286 snaps in a season. I don’t think he’s better than Moore, so this is an overpay and a bad match of team and player.

Grade: C+

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One thought on “Oakland Raiders sign OLB Malcolm Smith

  1. Malcom Smith does not have to beat out anyone. He just needs to be a competent player to come in when needed or due to injury to the starters. When we lost Roach and Sio Moore the Raiders had no real good options to replace them. It also should be noted that Moore is coming off a hip injury that required surgery and there is no guarantee he will be fully functional when the season starts. Now it looks like the Raiders are making sure this does not happen again this year.

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