The starting core of the Oakland Raiders defensive backfield corps is quite strong. However, at the bottom of the depth chart there is going to be a lot of jockeying for position.
All Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha leads the way. He has emerged as an elite cover corner, and has earned a reputation around the league as a corner that quarterbacks just don’t challenge.
At the strong safety position, Tyvon Branch had a breakout season in 2009 getting some Pro Bowl consideration. He is the sure tackler the Raiders have not had back there in years. He also plays well near the line of scrimmage and will be a key part of the Raiders run defense.
Stevie Brown (S), Walter McFadden (CB), Joe Porter (CB), Joey Thomas(CB), Jeremy Ware (CB)
Nnamdi Asomugha (CB), Jerome Boyd (S), Tyvon Branch(S), Hiram Eugene (S), Micahel Huff (S), Chris Johnson (CB), Mike Mitchell (S), Stanford Routt (CB)
Cornerback: Nnamdi Asomugha is entrenched at starter. Stanford Routt made headlines over the offseason when the Raiders gave him the top restricted free agent tender, but he will have to have a great camp and preseason to unseat Chris Johnson who has been the starter for a year and a half. The remaining four are fighting for at most two corner slots. This is where special teams will go a long way towards determining the winner.
Safety: Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch look to be the starters at free and strong safety respectively.This creates an interesting situation for the Raiders with 2009 second round pick Mike Mitchell who will be pushing for playing time. He is a better fit at strong safety which is taken by the emerging Branch. Hiram Eugene has seen time as a starter at free safety. He has also been integral to the special teams, but his roster spot is not ensured. Jerome Boyd and Stevie Brown will be pushing for that spot. Boyd’s experience
CB: Nnamdi Asomugha, Chris Johnson
Nickle corner: Stanford Routt
FS: Michael Huff
SS: Tyvon Branch
Nickle safety: Mike Mitchell
Reserve defensive backs: Walter McFadden, Jerome Boyd, Hiram Eugene, Jeremy Ware
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Patrick Patterson’s other writing:
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