DeMarcus Van Dyke is either the future of the Oakland Raiders at cornerback or he’s among the last of the Al Davis projects still in the East Bay. We’ll just have to wait and see.
When Oakland selected Van Dyke it was about as surprising as the Chargers disappointing their bandwagon fan base. DVD ran the fastest 40 at the 2011 combine so it was a given he was going to be a Raider.
But it wasn’t Van Dyke’s blazing speed alone that made him a Raider. The first time you see him play you know there is talent there to work with. Despite his frail frame Van Dyke is a fluid cover corner with plenty of potential.
During his rookie year he displayed some of that tremendous upside. He also showed just how much further he has to go until he can be trusted as a full-time defender. DeMarcus started four games and registered one pick. His play was inconsistent at best looking very comfortable on Oakland’s man-to-man island on one play then completely lost on the next.
Going forward DVD will have to refine his technique, improve his tackling and above all else develop better ball skills. More often than not Van Dyke was in position to make plays, he just didn’t. That’s part of the process in being a corner in college versus covering NFL receivers. In the NCAA most QBs see a DB draping a wide receiver and they move on. In the pros quarterbacks are throwing the balls to open windows, not open players. Van Dyke has got to find the ball when it’s in the air and make a play on it. Easier said than done but that’s why he’s under contract.
2012 provides a clean slate for Van Dyke. He’s got a new GM, new coaches and new veteran teammates to help show him the ropes. He’s also got a great chance to be a nickel corner and possibly become a starter. All the tools are in place. It’s just a matter of Van Dyke putting it all together.