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The Raiders are going young at cornerback. That’s how it seems at this stage, without a veteran free agent addition this offseason. General manager Reggie McKenzie has cycled through aging starters the last three seasons, but finally believes his young corners are ready for the limelight.
That puts pressure on DJ Hayden, TJ Carrie and Keith McGill to step up and take control. That trio earned McKenzie’s trust with strong performances in 2014, leading many to believe they’ll take the lion’s share of snaps next season.
Despite solid play from that group, there is cause to be cautious. All of them have injury history, and missing even one of them with thin the team’s cornerbacks substantially.
They need Hayden especially to stay healthy and live up to his vast potential. Carrie must be counted on in the slot, and McGill must live up to the promise he showed late last season. That said, it might behoove the Raiders to add depth to this group at some point in the draft. McKenzie got great value from Carrie in the seventh round, and could try to mine cornerbacks again in the later portions of this draft.
Who’s here: TJ Carrie, Chance Casey, DJ Hayden, Keith McGill, Neiko Thorpe, Jansen Watson
Draft needs: The team could use some depth here, either by adding to the top or the bottom of this depth chart. The Raiders have more pressing concerns, but a cornerback could fill needs in the secondary and on special teams. This should be a target later in the draft.
Good fits: The Raiders brought Washington's Marcus Peters in for a visit earlier this month, and would compete for a starting job right away should the Raiders trade down in the first round or if the Oakland native somehow remains available at No. 35 overall.
Stanford’s Alex Carter fits the Raider mold for cornerbacks, with a big frame and a physical mindset. He stands 6 feet and 196 pounds and is aggressive at the line of scrimmage. He could have value in the third round, maybe the fourth. Central Florida’s Jacoby Glenn is a developmental prospect who could be helped by excellent secondary coaches in Marcus Robertson and Rod Woodson. Georgia’s Damian Swann and USC’s Josh Shaw are also later-round options who play tough and have potential to become a productive pro. Shaw is a real talent whose off-field issues may bump him down to a place where the team would get great value.