Could the Sean Smith move be tied to Raiders second round pick Obi Melifonwu?

Could the Sean Smith move be tied to Raiders second round pick Obi Melifonwu?

Much has been discussed about the fact that the Oakland Raiders have had Sean Smith not only playing with the second team, but playing a new position entirely. When it first happened, I wrote about how fans shouldn’t read too much into it.¬†After all, the Raiders are still in the process of installing the changes to the defense so it’s only natural to expect them to play around a bit. Take a look at different players in different positions to see what works best.

But as we progress towards the first preseason game of the year, it appears that Smith is spending almost all of his time playing the hybrid DB/LB role in the dime package. That has made me wonder if maybe there really is more to the move of Smith. And I don’t just mean he’s been bad at corner and the Raiders are trying to salvage him.

I mean the move of Sean Smith to BD/LB in the dime package could have to do with more than just him.

Earlier in the offseason, I discussed how the Raiders should play in the dime formation more often. The reason for that was to get Obi Melifonwu on the field more often. The reason behind getting Melifonwu on the field more often is because he is supposed to be the tight end assassin this season.

But even with Melifonwu still not practicing, the Raiders are still playing a good amount of dime in camp, but it’s Sean Smith playing the DB/LB role instead of Melifonwu.

Part of that decision is likely tied to the fact that Smith has struggled to play well at outside corner. But part of it could be salvaging a game plan that needed Melifonwu on the field. As Reggie McKenzie noted shortly after the draft, Melifonwu was taken for a very specific reason: To help the Raiders matchup better with opposing offenses and opposing tight ends in particular.

It’s possible that one of the reasons the Raiders are training Sean Smith to play the DB/LB role in the dime packages is because they need someone to play it while Melifonwu gets healthy. That way, the Raiders can run the dime defense the way they will once Melifonwu is healthy and they train a backup for him should he get hurt again.

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