Editor’s note: Insider Scott Bair will highlight one training camp position battle each Tuesday of the preseason as the Raiders depth chart and starting lineup begin to take shape. This week, we take a look at cornerbacks.
TJ Carrie (6-foot, 204 pounds, 2nd season, Ohio) vs. DJ Hayden (5-foot-11, 190 pounds, 3rd season, Houston) vs. Keith McGill (6-foot-3, 211 pounds, 2nd season, Utah) vs. Neiko Thorpe (6-foot-1, 200 pounds, 3rd season, Auburn)
Where we’re at: The Raiders are still experimenting with their cornerback rotation, trying to find the best roles for this group.
TJ Carrie has been the best Raiders cornerback thus far. He’s played aggressive and physical and more confident in his second season. He seems to be a lock on one side of the base defense.
Keith McGill manned the other side during the offseason program and at the start of camp, but DJ Hayden has assumed that spot of late. Hayden started Friday’s preseason game opposite Carrie, and has done so in recent practices before and after that game.
Hayden’s play has been praised by the coaching staff, which sees improvement and great growth potential in the 2013 first-round pick.
Hayden was working some early practices in the slot, but Carrie was there during Sunday’s practice, as he was last year after veteran Carlos Rogers was lost for the year with a knee strain.
McGill has come in as the No. 3 cornerback with Hayden as a starter, though his results have been mixed of late. Neiko Thorpe has also taken limited snaps with the first unit.
That group will continue to fight for roles as the preseason goes on. Nothing seems set quite yet.