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Tommy Eichenberg describes his love for football as 'unmatched'

The first linebacker drafted by the Raiders in the Antonio Pierce era is Ohio State's Tommy Eichenberg.

His resume certainly qualifies him as an ideal fit in Pierce's vision for the defense.

Eichenberg, initially coming across as a man of few words in his introductory press conference, lets his play do all the talking. The fifth-rounder has a reminiscent play style to Raiders starting linebacker Robert Spillane: a vicious downhill tackler with exceptional instincts. The expectation Eichenberg holds for himself is to fit the standard already in place.

"I think that they're really, really tough dudes that love the game of football and play really hard," Eichenberg said. "That's something that I try to pride myself on, too, and it's something I hope to add to this team."

An advantage the linebacker brings to the NFL is his big-game experience. The Big Ten standout competed against some of the best names college football had to offer, with a list of numerous now All-Pro players he's taken down at Ohio State.

He began to make a name for himself in his junior season, leading his team and the conference in solo tackles. The All-American also came up big in the 2022 Rose Bowl, with 17 tackles in a Defensive MVP showing against Utah. The linebacker believes the pressure that came with being a Buckeye helped mold who he is as a player.

"I know that I played football at the highest level in college at Ohio State where the expectations are so high, and someone is trying to take your spot and if you don't show up, your spot is on the line," he said. "I think it's helped me so much and I think it will help me in future."

As Eichenberg arrives to Las Vegas, it will be back to square one for the rookie. He'll have ample competition to push him in the linebacking corps consisting of Spillane, Divine Deablo, Luke Masterson and 2023 sixth-rounder Amari Burney. Nevertheless, competition is something he embraces within the game he truly loves.

"Something that I told a lot of the teams is my love for the game is unmatched," Eichenberg said. "There's nothing else I want to do right now in my life. It's hard to turn it off, but I love the game. I'm always around it, always just trying to learn. I can't even name all the things I've done back in college that just revolved around football because I love the game so much.

"I love the dudes, I love the coaches. I love just everything that comes with it. I'm excited to just continue my journey."

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With the 148th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders have selected linebacker Tommy Eichenberg.

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