Normally, I would be writing only one profile to cover the next man up in the Safety rotation for the Oakland Raiders, but the loss of strong safety Tyvon Branch has created opportunities for both Usama Young and Brandian Ross. In essence, with Branch down, two others must take his place. That says a lot about what Branch was able to accomplish in the last two games. However, Young and Ross stepped in after Branch suffered a significant injury to his fibula (fractured) in the first quarter of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and they both played very well. As such, they will be called upon to fill in along side FS-Charles Woodson and DB-Tracy Porter.
Usama Young was born in 1985 in Washington, DC. He attended High School in Largo, Maryland, and then he attended college at Kent State. In the last three decades, he was one of the top defensive prospects to emerge from Kent State. He was drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, and he remained with the team through 2010. He was released by the Saints in 2011, and he signed with the Cleveland Browns where he remained through 2012. On April 2, 2013, he was released by the Browns, and just 7 days later he was signed by the Oakland Raiders. Throughout his career, Young has played in 83 games totaling 233 combined tackles (183 solo), 4 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, and 7 interceptions.
It is true that some people are just destined to do certain things in their life. Young is a player who you can say was destined to play defense and make tackles. Why you ask? Well, a funny thing happened when he was 12 years old and playing in a local Pee Wee Football game. A rabid dog ran onto the field in the middle of the game, and it began to terrorize the young players, coaches, and parents standing along the sidelines. Instead of running away, Young tackled the dog, used the chain from the down markers to tie and subdue the dog, and he successfully restored order to the game. I’d say his destiny was laid out.
Brandian Ross was born in 1989 in Richmond, VA. He attended High School at Meadowbrook, and then he attended college at Youngstown State University. Initially, Ross played safety for the first three seasons in college before being switched to defensive back. Ross was an undrafted free agent coming out of college in 2011. He was signed to the Green Bay Packers and eventually made it onto their practice squad for the 2011 season. In 2012, Ross was released by the Packers, and he was signed to the Oakland Raiders 53-man roster on September 19, of 2012. He is a flexible players who can be used as a safety or nickel corner. In his professional career, Ross has played in 16 games and he has recorded 24 tackles (21 solo) and 1 sack. Ross had flourished on the Raiders Special Teams, making plays when the Raiders needed it most in 2012. Now he will be called upon to help fill in for the injured Branch.
Both Young and Ross are high energy players who will be able to assist the Raiders in the secondary. With the tutelage of Charles Woodson, these players should improve their performance greatly. Already, Young has totaled 4 tackles and 1.5 sacks, and Ross has totaled 4 tackles and 1 sack in their first big roles at strong safety. Now that they will be exclusively used in defensive packages, their totals should seriously increase. The big test will be coming on Monday night against arguably one of the best quarterback’s to ever play the game, Peyton Manning, and his arsenal of wide receivers (Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Trindon Holliday), tight end Julius Thomas, and revamped running back Knowshon Moreno. It will be a difficult task, but I believe it is a task both of these players are ready for.