Las Vegas Raiders: 15 best defensive backs of all-time

Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
10 of 15
Terry McDaniel
Terry McDaniel of the Los Angeles Raiders returns an interception for a touchdown during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. /

player. 28. . CB. (1988-97). Terry McDaniel. 6

  • 5x Pro Bowl (1992-96)
  • 4x Second-Team All-Pro (1992-95)
  • 34 career interceptions for 624 yards in 147 games w/Raiders
  • Franchise record for most career interception returns for touchdowns (5)

Terry McDaniel often gets overlooked as one of the greatest players in Raiders history. He played during an era between Super Bowl runs for the Silver and Black. However, his play at cornerback for the Raiders for a decade easily has him nearly cracking the top-five as an all-time defensive back.

Los Angeles selected McDaniel No. 9 overall out of the University of Tennessee in the 1988 NFL Draft. Known for his speed and his sure-handedness, McDaniel was bound to be a Raider. He was the prototype of a track star late owner Al Davis coveted out on the perimeter.

After missing nearly all of his rookie season in 1988 with a broken leg, McDaniel would emerge as a starter in the Oakland secondary the next season. You could count on McDaniel to be playing cornerback for the Silver and Black every fall Sunday for nearly all the next decade.

While he only had six interceptions in his first four years of his NFL career, McDaniel’s ball-hawking ability would be refined entering year five in 1992. From then on, McDaniel rattled off five-straight trips to the Pro Bowl from 1992 to 1996. He had at least four picks in each of those five seasons, finding pay dirt a franchise-record five times during that span.

McDaniel’s prowess in the defensive backfield was obvious, but he might have gotten overlooked in the national landscape given who playing corner in the league during that time. Deion Sanders was in his prime with the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, and Dallas Cowboys. Darrell Green was utterly sensational playing outside for the Washington Redskins.

Over two-thirds of his time through with the Raiders, the team would move back to the Bay Area from Southern California. So McDaniel’s first seven NFL seasons were spent in Los Angeles, while his last three years with the Raiders were spent in Oakland from 1995 to 1997.

McDaniel’s veteran leadership helped smooth the transition north in California for the Silver and Black. Though Jon Gruden would come later, as would the Super Bowl appearance in 2002, McDaniel helped re-establish defensive excellence in the back-end of the Raiders defense in the 1990s.

McDaniel would spend the 1998 NFL season with the then division rival Seattle Seahawks before retiring. Though likely a candidate to remain in the Hall of Very Good, maybe McDaniel does find his way to Canton one day?

Currently, McDaniel is first all-time in interception returns for touchdowns (5), second all-time in interception return yardage (624), and third all-time in interceptions (34) in Raiders uniform.