ALAMEDA — The Raiders finally have a linebacker.
Waiting it out until the fifth round — general manager Reggie McKenzie’s go-to spot for the position — the Raiders took Wake Forest’s Marquel Lee with the 168th overall pick.
Lee, who is 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, was a team captain who had 105 tackles and 7.5 sacks last season and fills a major need as a guy who can multiple linebacker spots.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., on a pre-draft media teleconference, identified Lee as a possible Day 3 target who could step in a potential starting inside linebacker.
“You look at the Florida State game, he struggled a little bit, missed some tackles in that game,” Kiper said. “You look at some other games and he was a guy who was solid from start to finish. If you look at the right game, Lee from Wake Forest could end up being a guy who can help you down the road as an inside linebacker.”
Lee attended the combine, but didn’t run there. He later ran a reported 4.6 time in the 40-yard dash, although scouting reports indicate his play speed is below average and he appears to be better at defending the run and making plays behind the line of scrimmage than defending the pass.
His size and skill set seems to make him a better fit as a weakside, or WILL linebacker, leaving the Raiders still hunting for help at the MIKE linebacker position. Heeney struggled through two game starting in that role last year before losing his job to James and then getting hurt. The Raiders eventually brought in street free agent Perry Riley Jr. and he remains available if the Raiders can work out a deal for his return.