Oakland Raiders depth chart projections: Defense/ST

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May 26, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson (24) stretches at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Backs

The secondary might be the most questionable position group on the field for the Raiders in 2015. After essentially renting veteran corners Tarell Brown and Carlos Rodgers in 2014 (after doing the same with Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins in 2013), and cutting ties with veteran safeties Tyvon Branch and Usama Young (both of whom were injured for most of last year), the Raiders secondary is a collection of young, unproven players, serviceable veteran free agent Nate Allen, and future Hall of Famer and oldest player on the team Charles Woodson.

Reggie McKenzie didn’t do much in free agency to add veteran presence to the secondary, other than signing former Eagles safety Nate Allen and formers Panther’s backup corner James Dockery. Instead, it seems McKenzie trusts his young drafted talent at corner in DJ Hayden (first round pick in 2013), TJ Carrie (7th round pick in 2014) and Keith McGill (4th round pick in 2014). Chimdi Chekwa is also still around, and brings value as both cornerback depth and as a special teamer. The Raiders also drafted Kansas corner Dexter McDonald in the 7th round and grabbed New Mexico corner SaQwan Edwards and BYU corner Rob Daniel as priority free agents. Fourth year men Ras-I Dowling and Neiko Thorpe round out the cornerbacks group.

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  • The safety group will undoubtedly feature Charles Woodson and Nate Allen as starters, so the question remaining is who plays behind them. Brandian Ross, who was perhaps the NFL’s worst safety in 2013, came on late last year to play some solid football. Larry Asante, another free agent acquisition prior to last year, also contributed some good play, especially in run defense. Sixth round pick Jonathan Dowling really didn’t have an impact in 2014, but many believe he could be primed for a breakout this year. The Raiders also grabbed a couple of rookie free agents in Tevin McDonald and Jimmy Hall for the preseason roster. With Asante, Dowling and Ross all generally used as strong safeties, it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out, but Ross’ ability as a deep cover safety means he can likely play both safety positions, increasing his value.



    1. DJ Hayden

    2. Keith McGill

    3. TJ Carrie

    4. Jonathan Dockery

    5. Chimdi Chekwa

    6. Dexter McDonald


    1. Charles Woodson (SS)

    2. Nate Allen (FS)

    3. Brandian Ross

    4. Jonathan Dowling

    PRACTICE SQUAD: SaQwan Edwards

    RELEASED: Neiko Thorpe, Ras-I Dowling, Larry Asante, Tevin McDonald, Jimmy Hall, Rob Daniel