Going into the 2017 NFL offseason, the Oakland Raiders were in dire needs of help at several positions, especially on the defensive side of the ball. One position, in particular, was the weakest point of the defense, and that was inside linebacker.
In 2016, the Raiders played musical chairs at the inside linebacker position, with the likes of Ben Heeney, Cory James, Malcolm Smith and Perry Riley Jr. all getting a crack at the starting job. Either due to injury or due to the poor performance of another player. Out of the four, Riley seemed to be the most competent, but for the most part he was looked at as an average starter who could make plays from time to time.