4. Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, Las Vegas Raiders
This one is kind of cheating as we are including two players on one slide but they accomplish the same thing for the Las Vegas Raiders, so we packaged them together. Individually, they would not be that big of a deal, but together, Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski represent a new-look linebacker unit in Vegas.
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Littleton has really come into his own over the last two seasons and might be overlooked by the casual NFL fan but he is quietly one of the best linebackers in the league. He was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and had just as good of a season in 2019, but did not make the team.
Littleton has a combined 168 solo tackles over the last two seasons with 7.5 sacks, five interceptions 22 passes defended and two forced fumbles. He is really good for an inside backer in pass coverage but can plug the running lanes and get to the quarterback as well.
Kwiatkoski is likely going to play weakside linebacker for the Raiders and while he is not as great as Littleton, he did show some really promising signs last season for the Chicago Bears. He played all 16 games, starting eight, and recorded 56 solo tackles, three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.
Together, Littleton and Kwiatkoski are going to improve a weak part of the Raiders’ defense, both of which are going to be key players to stop the Chargers’ likely more mobile offensive attack.
The casual fan might not think about the other team’s linebackers as being a massive deal, but Littleton and Kwiatkoski are good enough to swing the game, which could swing the entire season for the Chargers.