You likely haven’t heard of him yet, but Oakland Raiders’ rookie linebacker Carlos Fields Jr. is kind of a big deal. Despite doing undrafted this past weekend, the Winston-Salem State product has the potential to be a serious playmaker in the NFL.
When you look for an NFL-caliber middle linebacker, there are several things you have to keep an eye out for. First, excellent awareness and the ability to read and react to what the offense does. Second, the ability to be a consistent, reliable tackler. Finally, the natural leadership to be the heart and voice of an entire defense.
That’s what you’ll find with Fields.
Regardless of his standing as an undrafted rookie from a small school like WSSU, Fields has all of the traits you want in an NFL linebacker. He plays the run with tenacity and consistency, shows great instincts and awareness against the pass, and is the quarterback of the defense who leads with his play as well as his words.
However, the Raiders don’t exactly need a new linebacker. Their current lineup – Kevin Burnett (WLB), Nick Roach (MLB), and Sio Moore (SLB) – is already set to be shaken up with the addition of first-rounder Khalil Mack. Unless they plan on benching two of their returning starters, Fields will be forced into a reserve role as a rookie.
Given time and coaching, though, Fields should eventually get his opportunity to start in Oakland. Before then, the undrafted rookie should find himself in position to play special teams and be on call in case one of the starters gets hurt.When his opportunity finally arrives, Fields will look to prove all 31 of the other NFL teams why it was a mistake to pass on him. And trust me when I say that he won’t disappoint.
GM Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders uncovered a hidden gem in Fields. Expect their keen eye for talent to pay dividends in the near future.