If there’s one area that the Oakland Raiders desperately need to address ahead of the 2017 NFL season, it’s middle linebacker. While many Raider fans are clamoring to get Perry Riley back to fill the current hole, there may be a better option that just came back on the market.
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As Bryan DeArdo of 247Sports pointed out, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zachary Orr will be returning to the NFL after retiring earlier this offseason when doctors discovered a congenital spinal condition. But, according to the team’s official website, things changed quite a bit.
“I had my mind made up. I was like man, the doctors told me I was done,” Orr said, per Ravens.com. “This is a serious issue. So I’m going to leave it alone. But I just kept hearing that from multiple people and some were telling me to just go check out and seek out some more opinions and things like that and come to find out my condition, it is rare — .01 percent of the people have what I have — but there’s no actual evidence or facts that I’m at a higher risk than any other player. And it’s actually been documented that a college player who had the exact same thing that I have that returned to play with no problems.”
Orr was a second-team All-Pro last season after tallying 132 tackles and three interceptions. The craziest part of all is that Orr is now free to sign with any team in the NFL, and the Raiders would be crazy to not even consider bringing him in for a visit.
The only real concern about Orr’s potential fit in Oakland is that the Raiders base defense is a 4-3 that features 3-4 looks. The 25-year-old MLB played in a 3-4 defense in Baltimore, so it’d take a bit of an adjustment for him with the Raiders.
Even still, Oakland has a major need, and it’s not every day that a player this young and talented at a position that you need just pops up on the free agent market.