2015 was the year the Oakland Raiders’ T.J. Carrie didn’t have a true position as he shuttled from cornerback to safety due to injuries. The experiment proved quite fruitful as the 6-foot, 205-pound University of Ohio product didn’t embarrass himself and cemented his status as a versatile chess piece in the secondary. The Raiders would be wise to keep Carrie as the moveable piece on the board as he provides valuable depth at both corner and safety positions.
“He’s a smart, tough football player,” Del Rio said of Carrie. “He has good cover ability, solid tackler.”
Sticking to corner and manning the third role after departed D.J. Hayden went down, Carrie racked up 25 tackles to go along with an interception. Also, adding a forced and fumble recovery and four pass deflection. But with the Raiders taking Ohio State corner Gareon Conley in the first round UConn safety Obi Melifonwu in the second, Carrie’s job security as No. 3 corner is precarious in more ways than one.
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If Conley’s off-field situation clears up, he is odds on favorite to win the No. 3 gig. Not to mention, Obi’s freakish athleticism makes him a flexible matchup. Due to Melifonwu’s skill set, he can not only play safety, but press corner as well. Yet, the Raiders have the perfect teammate (Carrie) and coach (Rod Woodson) that can teach Obi all about playing both safety and corner.
While depth appears solid at corner, it is less so at safety. Reggie Nelson leads the group along with developing and promising Karl Joseph, Melifonwu along with seventh-round pick Shalom Luani are the new kids.
Shuttling Carrie between the two groups helps strengthen the positions. Plus, he can seamlessly plug in at either in case of injury or ineffectiveness. Additionally, he provides valuable veteran instruction. Why not make Carrie’s contract year a valuable one not only to the depth of the team, but also the youngsters coming in?
In essence, Carrie’s value to the team increases with player movement. While he’s not outstanding at any secondary spot, he’s solid. As a result, the team can shift focus to bolstering other aspects of the team. TJ Carrie isn’t the big name RaiderNation wants, but the player they need.