The Raiders signed several quality players this offseason. The last big signing filled an important need, looking to build upon a career year.
Safety Reggie Nelson shared the NFL lead with eight interceptions with Cincinnati, but was allowed to leave the Bengals in free agency. Nelson turns 33 in September, and there’s some question whether he can maintain production.
The Raiders believe he can. That’s why they signed him to a two-year, $8 million contract this offseason. Players believe Nelson’s still a top-flight player.
"This year, no, I don't think (Earl Thomas) is the best safety in the game," former Raiders wideout and current Steeler Darrius Heyward-Bey said. "I would say Reggie Nelson, but he plays for the Bengals, man, I can't do that."
Nelson was ranked the No. 60 player in the league’s Top 100, a list generated by votes from NFL players.
"He has a knack for reading the quarterback's eyes and timing the ball and getting it at its highest point," former Bengals teammate Tyler Eifert told NFL Network.
"He's a ball-hawking safety," Dolphins safety Reshad Jones said. "When the ball is in the air, you're going to see Reggie Nelson by the ball."
Nelson replaces Charles Woodson, who retired after 2015, as a veteran leader in the secondary. He’s expected to partner with first-round pick Karl Joseph at safety.
Nelson hasn’t been seen in Raiders colors yet. He has missed both OTA sessions open to the media with injury. It is uncertain when he’ll come back.
Quarterback Derek Carr was ranked No. 100 on the NFL ranking list, which is airing on NFL Network throughout the offseason. The top 50 hasn't been unveiled yet.