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Safety-challenged

Will this be the year the Raiders either sign or discover a playmaker or a big-hitter to play safety?

The safety class is not considered particularly strong. When the first round is complete, Miami’s Kenny Phillips could be the only named called, and it’s possible no safeties at all will be taken. Alabama’s Simeon Castille was an intriguing playmaker for Nick Saban at Alabama who played cornerback but seemed to do his best work inside as a nickel corner and safety.

Other than one last great year out of Rod Woodson in 2002, safety play has been a problem for the Raiders since they came back to Oakland in 1995. One of their more remarkable accomplisments was making it all the way to the AFC championship game in 2000 with Marquez Pope and Anthony Dorsett manning the last line of defense.

Stuart Schweigert was displaced by Hiram Eugene as the starter last season, and it wasn’t much of an upgrade. Eugene missed tackles at roughly the same rate as Schweigert. Michael Huff has one interception in 32 games at strong safety.

At the season-ending press conference, Lane Kiffin hinted that Huff, slightly built for a strong safety and more of a form tackler than a big hitter, might be on the move to free safety. Since then, it remains to be seen just how much input Kiffin will have with regard to Huff or anyone else, and two league sources said during the week that it is no secret in league circles that Huff is available by trade.

I’m skeptical about pulling that off, because the Raiders, the justifiable Randy Moss giveaway aside, usually ask for way more than teams are willing to give and Huff, while decent in coverage against tight ends, has not been a playmaker or much of a help in the box stopping the run.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • DesertRaider24

    At WR…do I dare suggest it? Chad Johnson? Anybody know what the Bengals are asking for him? What about his contract–anyone know the numbers that we would have to pick up?

  • Florida Pete

    bedtime…

    later…

  • Jeremy –

    Where’s Unknown?

    everybody else –

    Who wants some?

  • JB

    My dream picks are Ellis wth the first and Laws with the 2nd. We could build a line to be remembered and talked about for decades. I’m also not adverse to trade Burgess as long as Clemons & Kelley resign. Burgess still has some trade value and this years draft is very deep with the BIG DUDES or Big Uglies as Tom Flores put it last night. Burgess is on the downslope side of his career and we might find another guy of great value at an inexpensive price for the next 5-6 years.

    Has anyone thought about Ali Highsmith LB-LSU for our safety needs? He’s played safety before and is a little light, in my mind, for an NFL LB. His stats are:

    Height: 6-1 | Weight: 225 | 40-Time: 4.60

    Official Bio

    Strengths:
    A terrific athlete with very good speed…Fantastic sideline-to-sideline range…Very good tackler…Has fluid hips and does a nice job in coverage…Real active and has a non-stop motor…Versatile with experience at every linebacker position…Pretty productive…Good leader…Solid blitzer and pass rusher…Excellent special teamer.

    Weaknesses:
    Undersized and doesn’t have the bulk that you look for…A little too aggressive at times…Marginal instincts and he is often late to react…Has trouble taking on and shedding blockers…Needs to get stronger…Will not be an ideal fit for every team.

  • RaiderDell

    Glenn

    Glad to see you blogging.

    Nite.

  • DesertRaider24

    I’m out…hope to see a new topic in the morning…maybe I can be 57th!

    Nite all…

  • JB

    Guess everybody went home. Later…

  • ALZADO RAIDER

    Uh 1000th ?

  • holyroller

    w

  • holyroller

    last

  • Zymurge

    I’ve been thinking about stud DTs on solid defenses around the league. How many of the best interior guys in the league were both drafted top 10 and are stil with the team that drafted them? It seems to me that it’s one of those positions where late rounders turn into stars and top picks into mediocre players perhaps more often than any other position. It also seems to be a position where there are a lot of late bloomers, and that usually happens on their second or third teams.

    To back that assertion up, here’s the top 5 tackling interior lineman from ’07:

    Name, Team – Tackles / Assists / Sacks

    Kelly Gregg, Bal – 56 / 24 / 3 — Cin 6th rd 1999
    Jovan Haye, TB – 48 / 20 / 6 — Car 6th rd 2005
    Mike Patterson, Phi – 50 / 17 / 4 — Phi 1st 2005 (31st overall)
    Haloti Ngata, Bal – 43 / 20 / 3 — Bal 1st 2006 (12th overall)
    Pat Williams, Min – 43 / 19 / 2 — Buf undrafted FA 1998
    Darnell Dockett, Az – 43 / 15 / 9 — Az 3rd rd 2004

    So only two of six were 1st round picks, neither top 10 and one very late in the round. Three 6th or lower rounders and blossomed with a different team than their first.

    Looking for a top 10 pick in the last ten years and where they ranked on the 2007 interior DL tackle list we have only one in the top 30:

    #7 Dewayne Robertson, NYJ 36 / 21 / 4 — NYJ 1st 2003 (4th overall)

    While he’s been pretty consistent since joining the league, this is his best season. After 5 years of development.

    So I’m now less convinced that taking a DT at #4 is historically a good pick. It just seems like a place where performing under expectations is possibly even more likely than not. With the draft as deep as it is in DL, maybe it does make sense to go for one of the later guys here.

    Which means that I’m now thinking that I’m joining M.I.A. and saying that Gholston is the guy to pick at #4 if Baby Howie is gone. Better yet, trade down two slots with the Jets for a 3rd where they’d probably want a shot at either Ryan or DMac (although I still see his stock falling out of top 10) and then get Gholston for a couple million cheaper over the years. And then parlay that 3rd into a project DT or OT.

  • TrueRaider

    Zymurge Jake Long would be a good pick for us, see how Cleveland Browns benefited from Thomas and seem to have a lock in LT. If we can trade the pick and get a player like Roy Williams and Detroit 15th overall pick will work good for us and will help us find the ideal player without giving up a big contract.

  • TrueRaider

    If you look at teams like Colts or even New England, they have a solid defensive and offensive line. We need to help our Quarterback and release these bumbs like Simms, Gallery, Green and Newberry. Just see how many penalties was caused by our lines.

  • This berkering between Davis and whts his name remind me of my grandchildern. They all need to growup,we have lived with this for to long. I know that Mr Davis is a control freek but. As long as this type of mentalaty runs in this team we will continue to flounder around. We will be lucky if we can bring in any FA and any of the current players will not but there best effort on the field.

  • Derek

    Huff haters are guys who know nothing about the game and how its played.

    Huff is playing out of position and does a good job, especially in pass defense. Huff should be a free safety to be at his best, however he is a serviceable Strong Safety. Excellent SS no ! but adequate yes !

    STU, garbage no matter where you put him.

  • just aired on sportscenter fabian washington trade rumors hope you all met bo jackson in S.F. last weekend

  • where are we going to find a receiver donte stallworth maybe??

  • Raiders Fan

    Huff is good will be great at Free Safety… Josh Barrett. 225 lb 4.33 40 safety Arizona State. Marcus Griffen out of Texas would be a good match with Huff. We got the cover just need a tackler… lets move a lb out there

  • My hopes right now are that we sign one of the hometown boys, Wr Berrian or Stallworth. I hope that S Kenny Philips falls to the 2nd round where we can grab him with our 2nd round pick. He ran a rather slow time so he may fall out of the first round, but he’s a great safety prospect. If he doesn’t slip to the second round and say we acquire a 3rd round pick I say we draft S Tom Zbowski from Notre Dame, he’s a tough guy with speed who will knock snot from ur nose.

  • That’s the problem with some of u so called Raider fans. U think that potential is gonna solve everything. When u don’t have real talent u can’t draft for potential. We can’t afford to reach in the 2nd round for a Josh Barret! He did nothing for Arizona State this year! have u seen him play? I bet not! No thank you, I’ll take Kenny Philips or Tom Zbowski!