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NFP: Silva in for visit

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, April 22nd, 2011 at 11:19 am in Oakland Raiders.

The National Football Post is reporting the Raiders had Hawaii safety Mana Silva in for a visit.

Silva had 14 interceptions over the last two seasons, including eight last season. He had a 4.43 time in the 40-yard dash at his pro day.

The Raiders presently have two strong safety-type players in Tyvon Branch and Mike Mitchell, neither of whom has shown the type of ball skills to be a free safety in the Raiders’ single deep system. At free safety, Hiram Eugene was signed to a four-year contract before the lockout was imposed, Stevie Brown is a second-year player who showed promise as a seventh-round draft pick, and Michael Huff will hit the open market after his contract voided.

(ESPN reports the void was mandated by a 30 percent rule, but the effect is the same _ Huff will be a unrestricted free agent pending a CBA _ just as he said he would all season).

In other player developments, Central Washington running back Taiwan Jones, whom the Raiders were watching closely at his pro day at Los Medanos College in Pittsburgh, said he was late getting back from a visit to Miami and missed a visit with the Raiders in Alameda. Jones, who attended but didn’t work out at the Pro Day with the 49ers, said he wasn’t aware of a rescheduled date with Oakland.

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  • YoungAmerican

    I just don’t see either Mitchell or Branch being able to cut it at free safety for the Raiders. I hope I’m wrong about that, because one of them is definitely going to end up that job this season and it’ll probably be Mitchell.

  • priesttj

    YA I know this wont convince you my man, but based on what I’ve seen of Branch he is a natural FS. most have got the two positions confused the FS is not a cover S he plays center field. The SS has to have better cover skills. Mitchell has demonstrated that that is his strength. While branch seems to struggle in coverage but has better openfield range and anticipation plus his instincts are better than most think.

  • irjonny

    yep mitchell has to make his mark this season or hit the door with DHB. both those players better become football players quick.

    just a heads up. the judge is making a ruling on monday. could be end of lockout. of course there will be appealed but i wonder if there is a window of free agency.

    cant wait till thursday, will be interesting to see what happens

  • The Blackhole

    Chris Culliver will be our next saftey

  • oo

    Z.Miller switches agents not a good sign as Tom Condon and Ben Dogra of CAA are also represent Huff and Asomugha

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    Zach Miller switching agents to Condon/Dogra who represent Huff and Asomugha doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.
    The Raiders tried pretty hard to sign Zach at the end of the season, it could be true that Miller didn’t appreciate his agent not getting it done.

    On the other hand, it is true Miller’s new agents really drive up the price and that might be a problem.
    Miller didn’t seem too happy to see the Raiders starting all over again with a new coach either.

  • Plunketthead

    I just hope we dont take Mallet. I seldom beat a dead horse but that boy aint right or else he is on meth.

  • YoungAmerican

    It’s looking like Newton, Gabbert, Locker, Dalton, Ponder, and Kaepernick will all be gone by #48. What worries me is that Mallett falls and Al won’t be able to resist taking a kid with those kind of physical skills. The kid would be a disaster in Oakland. He should absolutely not be the second round pick.

  • YoungAmerican

    # priesttj Says:
    April 22nd, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    YA I know this wont convince you my man, but based on what I’ve seen of Branch he is a natural FS. most have got the two positions confused the FS is not a cover S he plays center field. The SS has to have better cover skills. Mitchell has demonstrated that that is his strength. While branch seems to struggle in coverage but has better openfield range and anticipation plus his instincts are better than most think.

    ——————-

    What worries me about Branch at FS is that he seems to have Stu Schweigert syndrome – he’s always just a split second late making a break on the ball. He’s a solid enough tackler, for sure, but he has trouble when he gets manned up on slot guys, which is something Huff was asked to do somewhat regularly last season.

    I have confidence that Branch’s off season last season is something he can bounce back from. I’m just not sure he could step in at FS and be the caliber of player the Raiders need at that position. Especially not with a shortened offseason. The limited time he’s seen at FS has not looked promising.

    I’m just hoping that the Raiders have open competition at both safety positions, and that every S on the roster gets a crack at the job. I still think there’s a good chance that if the Raiders draft a physical young CB (like Curtis Brown or Davon House) in the first couple rounds, he’ll get a long look at FS.

  • TerrapinRaider

    I’ve been saying it since those joes got drafted. Branch is your FS. Mitchell is your SS. Get them in position and call it a day.

    Mitchell specifically is a NATURAL SS.

    Branch has the speed/range for FS. He doesn’t really have a SS build.

    Mitchell can be much better than Branch manning the SS spot full time.

    Been saying that since day 1. And I read above some of you fools may want to release MM34. Thats just foolishness.

  • TerrapinRaider

    And on the Seymour trade …insofar it has been a solid trade. People take for granted the impact some players have on the lockerroom.

    The Raiders went from laughing stock to no one’s laughing anymore.

  • TerrapinRaider

    I hate to be a high/weight/speed guy but in all honesty just look at the difference between the two:

    Tyvon Branch – 6ft 205lbs

    Mike Mitchell – 6′-1″ 220lbs

    Mitchell carries the bulk to man the SS spot. He is your starter imo. You just have to keep the guy on the field. And the Raiders were slowly learning that last year.

  • The Blackhole

    Good Morning Viet….Raider Nation

  • The Blackhole

    Branch is awful at coverage so no to FS and Mitchell is a good size but he isn’t as fast as Tyvon, I do agree that we need to see more of Mitchell he was doing great in mid to late season but then disappeared.

  • TerrapinRaider

    FS’s don’t really have to cover. They typically play deep in our system as a last line of defense and “help” on coverage.

    The SS is the one that has to cover more. He takes a lot of responsibility for the Antonio Gates, etc.

    The FS has to have the instincts and speed to get there. But ‘getting there’ is not necessarily covering in the true sense. When the other DBs release there man the FS has to pick him up (help). When the ball is going deep the FS has to get there to intercept or disrupt (again help). As well he should be a very reliable tackler.

  • TerrapinRaider

    You noticed how awful Branch was in coverage because he was likely in SS position where he HAD to cover.

    Imagine Hiram Eugene playing SS …now I really don’t think that would look good either …but at FS where he doesn’t really have to shadow someone as much he looks decent (at FS).

    I think Branch can possibly be very good at FS.

  • http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ KoolKell

    Mike Mitchell is a good tackler & blitzer.

  • Thec07

    We have needs on both sides of the trench…
    Draft some mean nasty trenchmen…
    True Raiders…

  • http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ KoolKell

    Mike Mitchell up & Stevie Brown back.

  • Thec07

    KoolKell Says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 8:35 am
    Mike Mitchell is a good tackler & blitzer.

    +++++++++++++++++++=

    Yes, and is also a hitter…Will knock the Pi@@ out of you…

  • http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ KoolKell

    Yep.

  • Just Fire Baby

    2. GIVE JASON CAMPBELL A FREAKING CHANCE. its something he never got in Washington with a new coach almost every year.

    **************************

    Where do people come up with this stuff???

    He had two HC’s (Gibbs and Zorn) in 5 years there.

    Al Saunders next year will have been his OC for half his career.

  • YoungAmerican

    The thing that impressed me about Mitchell last season is how surprisingly consistent he was against TEs, even Antonio Gates. TEs have been huge problems for the Raider defense for several years now. If Mitchell can hold onto the starting job and prove that in extended action he can maintain that level of consistency, it would be huge for the Raiders.

  • http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ KoolKell

    Jason Campbell provided the best QB play the Raiders have seen in a long time, 2002?

  • YoungAmerican

    I just hope that Mallett doesn’t end up being the next guy in line on the depth chart behind Campbell. Because if that’s the case, Mallett will be starting by mid season, if not earlier. And things will get ugly pretty quickly.

  • http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ KoolKell

    Hue Jackson said, Flawlessly, I believe.

  • Thec07

    I will take my chances with JC. Like most QB’s when the line holds will make good decisions. I would like to see the oline better in pass protection…

    Drafting or upgrading trenchmen through FA is crucial…

  • Thec07

    I do not relish the idea of a rookie drving the O, doesnt matter who it is…We are going to make a serious playoff run this year, doubt that it will happen with a rookie and the steep L curve of the NFL…

  • Thec07

    I have gone over my post limit…You guys have a Great weekend, enjoy your families….

    1 NATION…

  • Just Fire Baby

    I have zero confidence in Soup taking this team over .500 .

    He was a major liability, one of the worst players on the field, in the Tenn, STL, Pitt and SF games.

    That’s 30% of the games he played.

    And he wasn’t all that hot in the 2nd Denver game or the 1st KC game.

    Hue is on the record wanting a younger arm, and I am with our HC.

  • http://www.raiders.com/ r8eray

    Vegas, didn’t we win that game vs. STL ?
    I think thats the game I went to?!

  • Just Fire Baby

    Bruce saved him and our seasons bacon in the 2nd half.

    I think Campbell is good enough to not think you have a major problem, but you look back every year and you are 8-8 and he had a handful of stink jobs every year.

    Tough to upgrade for 2011, and I do think he SHOULD be the starter, but unless we make the playoffs, Al won’t resign him, and than we have nobody for 2012.

    Draft a QB, and trade up if need be.

  • YoungAmerican

    # RaiderRockstar Says:
    April 21st, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    YA,

    is Jason Campbell a long-term solution to the QB position? he’s got 1 year left on his deal and he got benched 3 times for Gradkowski last season. A decision Hue Jackson openly takes credit for.

    what rookie 2nd rounder is going to help the Raiders immediately and steal a starting job? I wouldn’t be surprised or upset to see Walker, Barnes & Henderson replaced … but what are we expecting from a rookie at RT that those guys can’t give? As JFB points out, the O-Line did a decent job in pass protection last season and an excellent job run blocking

    is a rookie going to make us the #1 rushing team instead of #2? is a rookie going to make us Bottom 10 in sacks or QB hits? the answer is no

    starting a rookie QB in Hue’s second season does not sound like a solid option, especially since most of Al’s Head Coaches only last 2 seasons

    after the Top 5 QB’s are selected, the next two available are Kaepernick & Dalton.

    HUGE difference between those guys and late rounders like Potts, Weber & Portis!

    take Kaepernick at #48 and “plan” for him to sit on the bench all season. If Jason Campbell gets benched or injured, at least we wont have to see Kyle Boller come in and try to throw the game away (see WK14 at Jacksonville) and he’ll have an entire offseason to prepare for his starting role in 2012 unless JCamp has an impressive season, in which case 2 good QB’s are better than none … our current situation

    Campbell & Gradkowski barely survived last season!

    You need to have a backup plan and QB is the most important position on a football team. No more young WR’s please. Bruce Campbell, Daniel Loper & Jared Veldheer and untested enough and we don’t know if Cooper Carlisle will be retained at this point. The only position on the O-Line that seems to be settled is Center with Samson Satele and about half of Raider Nation was calling for his head last offseason

    I’m good with O-Line in Rounds 3 & 4 … or maybe a few of Al’s favorite speedster DB’s

    —————

    So starting a rookie QB in Hue’s first season IS a viable option? Because if one gets drafted in the 2nd round, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

    Veldheer came in as a 3rd round pick last season and immediately paid dividends in both the running game and in pass protection. While he gave up his fair share of sacks, he proved to be a dramatic upgrade over Mario Henderson.

    This draft is deep at RT and OG, both of which are positions of need for the Raiders, given their free agent situation. There are several quality players who will be available between the second and fourth rounds who could come in and compete for a starting gig immediately. Especially at OG. It will help the Raiders continue their success in the running game (which isn’t a given considering the amount of players on their way out, and a continued shift in philosophy on the o-line). It will also help in pass protection this season, and by this time next season we’ll be looking at a far more talented group of players who have had a season to gel together.

    At the very least, Gallery, Walker, and Carlilse will be gone. If not this season, then next. If you want to put a rookie QB behind those guys in ANY season, especially with this group of WRs, you’d have to be crazy. Particularly when the best QB the Raiders will likely have left on the board is Ryan Mallett, who would be disasterous for Oakland. Beyond him? Like I said, there isn’t much difference between Ricky Stanzi and the next guy down.

    The Raiders DID NOT do a decent job with pass protection last season against elite (and some not-so-elite) defenses. Yes, Jason Campbell had a lot to do with that. No, Ryan Mallett isn’t going to change that. Even if Kaepernick falls to #48, I have a hard time believing he would either.

    It’s BECAUSE Campbell and Gradkowski barely made it through last season that the 2nd round pick should NOT be a 3rd or 4th-tier QB who won’t be able to help the team immediately.

    Newton and Gabbert will be gone early. Locker won’t make it past Seattle. Dalton is on the radar of many teams, and won’t make it past the Bengals’ 2nd round pick. Ponder will go to the Bills. Kaepernick will go to the Titans, who are enamored with him. The Raiders should draft a QB in the later rounds so Hue has a young kid to work with. But to me, there’s very little reason to draft the 7th or 8th best QB in this very weak QB class over, for instance, a 5th, 6th, or 7th round prospect like Devlin, Enderle, or Portis. Just because QB is a need doesn’t mean the Raiders should take one at #48 just for the sake of taking one.

    There are going to be some very solid players from a value standpoint available at #48 at a variety of positions. OL, DL, DB, WR, TE. QB, however, is not one of those positions.

  • Buckeyeraider

    G’mornin fellas.

    I think it will be interesting to see how the safety positions shake out. It’ll probably be an ongoing storyline through training camp and even pre-season, if there is such a thing.

    I’m hoping Eugene’s contract was for his value on special teams and a veteran emergency backup. I would be very disapointed to see him starting, honestly.

    Unfortunately Huff is probably riding off into the Texas sunset. Branch seemed like a draft steal and a star on the rise two years ago. Last year his play slumped significantly. Was it due to injury? Hopefully he rebounds, either at his SS position or sliding over to FS to replace Huff.

    Which begs..what to do with MM34? Going into his 3rd season it’s time for him to validate his 2nd rd selection and sieze a starting spot.

    When he was drafted Jerry asked him what postion he wanted to play and Mitchell responded either, I think I can play both. I thnk he’s right.

    He has the size and physicality to excel at SS and play in the box. He’s a very good tackler and could help the run-D. He also held up surprisingly well in coverage against some of the better TE’s including Gates and Owen Daniels.

    However I wouldn’t discount the idea of AD having visions of MM34 playing the role of enforcer in the deep secondary ala Tatum, Lott and Vann McElroy. With the ability to roam and wreak havoc back there and knock the piss out of opposing WR’s. MM34 has shown the ability and willingness to do just that. I think he has the speed and range to succeed.

    Like I said, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Agree with YA, don’t draft a QB just to draft one at #48.

    But if you are Al Davis, and you like Kappy or Dalton or Ponder or Mallet (hopefully not), you offer up some mid-round picks to trade up 10 spots to grab a guy, for the future.

    2011 is Soup’s year, he earned it, and will get it. It is also a contract year, so if he plays anywhere close to what he did last year, he will be gone.

    For the smoke Hue likes to blow up Soups you know what, he benched him twice last year, openly said he would like a young arm in camp, and the Raiders are bringing in QB’s to work-out.

    They are far from sold on Jason Campbell beyond 2011, if he doesn’t improve from last year.

  • http://www.raiders.com/ r8eray

    McNabb

    V.Young

    K.Kolb

    K.Orton

    M.Lienart

    C.Palmer

    are all QB’s we should be looking at.

    Okay….maybe not Lienart!
    ;)

  • YoungAmerican

    I still think Seneca Wallace would be a solid option as a backup QB. But free agency would have to start first.

  • irjonny

    i like how all the headlines for miller switching agents don’t mention how we have a 1st and 3rd rnd tender on him.

    to me every one of these qbs look like 2nd-3rd rnd picks. wait till next year and draft your day one starter in the 1st if campbell fails. much better qb class. and hey maybe get andrew luck.

  • Just Fire Baby

    What other QB’s besides Luck come out next year?

  • YoungAmerican

    As far as the QBs who could, theoretically, be within reach for the Raiders go…

    I like Kaepernick’s potential. He would make sense at #48. Doubt he’ll be there, though.

    Ponder looks good, but will that shoulder hold up? Especially if he’s getting hit behind a weak Raider offensive line? I don’t know. And again, I don’t see him dropping past the Bills.

    Mallett should not be the pick under any circumstances. Even if he’s there in the 3rd round, I’d rather the Raiders take their chances with Devlin, Enderle, Portis, or some other unheralded small-school prospect.

  • YoungAmerican

    # Just Fire Baby Says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 9:19 am

    What other QB’s besides Luck come out next year?

    ————

    For now, it looks like Barkely (USC), Pryor (OSU), Cousins (MSU), Foles (Arizona), and Lindley (SDSU) will all be entering the draft. It’ll be interesting to see who else joins that group between now and then.

  • http://www.raiders.com/ r8eray

    I think this years class in QB’s is one of the strongest in years….next year will just be a handful!

    They are comparing this years class to 2004….P.Rivers, Eli, and Big Ben.

  • edward teach

    Rockstar,

    I agree with your premise that we shouldn’t draft a quarterback just to draft one. In my mind this is a very overhyped group to begin with, and if it wasn’t for the unusually large amount of teams looking for one I think we’d be talking about the depth of the lines in this draft and not how many quarterbacks are going to go in the first couple of rounds.

    I don’t agree with taking one late, however. If you ARE going to draft a quarterback you might as well grab one early. No point in wasting a late-rounder on a guy that’s not going to be your starter down the road when you can get line depth or special teams help, unless you truly feel you’re getting a steal.

  • YoungAmerican

    unless you truly feel you’re getting a steal.

    —————-

    That would be exactly the point. Even if it’s a guy who can be your backup QB for the next four years. Drafting in the later rounds is rarely a sure thing, no matter what the position is.

    I think between the 5th and 7th round, DL, OL, QB and WR should all be in play. Maybe LB too, although the Raiders have decent depth there (since Brown and Williams have been re-signed).

  • irjonny

    JFB

    luck, barkley, landry jones, lindley, cousins, foles

    i would take that any day.

    better than the 2 early prospects and the 2nd-3rd rounders that are rising to 1st-2nd rounders because of the cosmic failure of team’s previous starters and starting qb old age.

    this won’t happen BUT if i were raiders gm i would build o-line, TE and WR through draft. use FA for 2011 defense/gaither. trade 2013 1st rounder to get andrew luck and draft defense in 2012. then of course the raiders would be awesome and the world ends in december.

  • http://www.raiders.com/ r8eray

    YA, big USC fan here! But don’t think Barkely is a 1st rounder. Maybe 3rd-4th round… Pryor is another Troy Smith…Cousins is a stick, I think he’s 6’4″ 185 lbs. with our O-line we’ll get that kid KILLED!!!
    Foles is mid-round QB and wont be a starter….Lindley is okay…but thats it!

    Luck will be 1st RD top 10 pick…..and I doubt we’ll be picking that early!

    This year would be the year we should get a QB…a young arm!

    ;)

  • irjonny

    maybe you’re right i just don’t feel good about how early on there were only 2 maybe 3 prospects projected in 1st and something weird happened to make them all 1st rounders. don’t get it and i think it’s pure hype. i like kaepernick, and a SOBER ryan mallett in this draft and that’s it after gabbert. they will all be gone and not worth trading up for imo. if you do a trade make it a blockbuster and get luck next year. but i know that won’t happen

  • TerrapinRaider

    The Terrapin’s theory is that MM34 was drafted in the 2nd to play SS to eventually slide Tyvon Branch to FS in place of Huff.

    Two things happened that delayed the plan: 1. MM34 came in late due to school and sufferred injuries during a valuable rookie year, which slowed him down. 2. Huff started to ‘get it’ and play more up to his potential at FS.

    What we ended up with was a log jam at SS. Otherwise there was no need to draft MM34 in the 2nd if it was not to have him play SS and move Branch (who had a solid year the year before) to FS.

    Now we have another problem with the labor ‘non’-negotiations and the lockout. This slows down the transition such that Hiram Eugene will have to start at FS because neither Branch nor Mitchell have had enough practice playing the spot.

  • irjonny

    vonta leach says he won’t be back with texans. good FB at good price.

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