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Raiders Mailbag: How is the linebacking corps coming along through Training Camp?

Danny Ranjel from Washington asks:

"How have our linebackers looked to you? Who's has stood out so far?"

Danny, I'm glad you asked about the linebackers because they don't get enough love in my opinion.

They have looked pretty good throughout camp, despite being one of the less talked about position groups on the Raiders. The team bolstered the unit this offseason by signing Jayon Brown, and has seen tremendous progress from Divine Deablo, the former safety going into his second season. Both these players seem to be mixing very well with Denzel Perryman, who's coming off a Pro Bowl season.

The Silver and Black also added two sleeper UDFA linebackers in Darien Butler from Arizona State and Luke Masterson from Wake Forest. Masterson, like Deablo, also played safety in college and has compiled nine total tackles in the preseason.

"As a rookie, he's worn the green dot a little bit in these preseason games, which is not an easy thing to do right off the bat," McDaniels said about Masterson. "He's handling a lot of communication. He's in the middle of every run play as you've seen. (He's) tough, active, works extremely hard in the weight room, works extremely hard to make sure his body is ready to go. He's got a maturity about himself at this point in his career that I really, really like. He's impressed us with that in the way he goes about his day to day."

Douglas Martindale from California asks:

"How is Alex Leatherwood doing?"

The 2021 draft class has seemed to make leaps and bounds, and Alex Leatherwood isn't excluded from that list.

The Raiders' first-round pick last season started all 17 games in 2021 at right guard and right tackle. While he had his growing pains as a rookie, Leatherwood looks like he's made improvements to his footwork and has focused on getting in better shape this offseason.

Leatherwood, and everyone on the O-line, is still fighting to earn starting jobs in the trenches. He's been seeing steady competition for the spot from Jermaine Eluemunor and rookie Thayer Munford Jr..

"I think a position, especially a tackle as challenging as it is in this league, it's got to be constant improvement," offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo said about Leatherwood. "We can't ever get satisfied. ... Thayer and Alex are doing their part, and they're looking to improve every day."

Scott Townsend from Florida asks:

"How has Isaiah Pola-Mao played so far in Training Camp?"

Like Darien Butler and Luke Masterson, Isaiah Pola-Mao has been another UDFA standout throughout Training Camp.

The 6-4, 211-pound safety has NFL-ready size and strength, coming from the University of Southern California. He's made his fair share of plays this offseason and has NFL lineage in his blood as he's related to Raiders running back coach Kennedy Polamalu and Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu.

Pola-Mao is a player I'd advise you keep your eye on against the Dolphins this Saturday, as he could be in line for a lot of snaps while competing for a roster spot.

The Raiders get one last Training Camp practice in before heading to Miami for their Saturday night matchup against the Miami Dolphins.

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