Finally admitting that the youth movement at cornerback it not yet ready for primetime, the Raiders signed veteran corner Lito Sheppard today. The team announced the news via Twitter and he is expected to on the practice field in Napa today.
This is a move that was long overdue. Sheppard may have his best days behind him but as a former first round pick out of Florida and a two-time Pro Bowler with the Eagles his experience will add vital depth to the DBs.
Prior to Sheppard’s signing the Raiders were betting on both Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson to be healthy for the entire season. Well that didn’t come close to happening as Johnson underwent surgery missing the Battle of the Bay. In his place rookie DeMarcus Van Dyke got his first start and performed as you’d expect from a first year corner.
Now Sheppard’s signing guarantees nothing. He’s still got to prove his worth and in a very short period of time. Adjusting to the Raiders man-intensive scheme has proved challenging for many. Sheppard’s presence combined with the signing of Terrelle Pryor means there are potentially two less roster spots available. Conceivably the Raiders could be throwing in the towel on one or more of their young corners.