Raiders must take advantage of strong DB free agent class


The Oakland Raiders had a lot of problems on defense in 2013, but defending the pass was easily the biggest issue. Due largely to an inability to get pressure on the quarterback without blitzing, it also showed that the corners in Oakland are simply not high caliber players. None of the corners are true number one, shut down guys. In an era where passing becomes a bigger and bigger part of the game, the Raiders cannot go on without improving the talent they have at corner.

Second year player DJ Hayden, the number 12 pick of the 2013 NFL Draft should finally be healthy and ready to contribute in a much bigger way in 2014. But the question that remains to be answered is whether or not he will be any good now that he is healthy. He has a ton of physical ability and talent, but his size and inability to play the ball in the air without losing track of his guy are very concerning.

Even if Hayden comes on strong, his lack of experience makes it hard for him to be a true number one corner this early in his career. Without any star corners available with the number five pick in the upcoming draft, the Raiders would be wise to invest some of their immense cap space in a quality free agent corner.

The Raiders also need to address the future of their free safety position. While Charles Woodson had a solid year in 2013, his age is showing and he had issues in pass coverage at times. Even if he is signed for one more year, the Raiders would be well served to bring in a young free safety and use Woodson as a defensive specialist that they can move around the field to different positions.

There are a handful of corners and free safeties in free agency who will not be cheap, but would also represent some of the best players the Raiders have had at those positions in years.

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