According to SFGate's David White (via Scout.com's Ed Thompson), the Raiders have schedule their first draft prospect visit for Wake Forest's Clarence "Chip" Vaughn.
The Raiders are scheduled to host Wake Forest strong safety Chip Vaughn, according to Scout.com writer Ed Thompson, making him the first known draft prospect to visit Alameda this draft season.
Put another way, it looks like the Raiders won't necessarily go into the 2009 season with just the three existing safeties on the roster -- Tyvon Branch, Michael Huff and Hiram Eugene.
With the release of Gibril Wilson, it's plain as day the Raiders need to address the strong safety position. And, as much as the staff digs Branch, he lost his rookie season to a broken hand and busted shoulder. So, until he proves durabile, a backup plan would be nice.
Unlike Huff (their strong safety of choice in the 2007 draft), Vaughn comes with size befitting an NFL strong safety at 6-foot 2, 221 pounds. He's projected as a third or fourth rounder by walterfootball.com, which lists him as the seventh-ranked safety on the board.
Last year, the Raiders drafted Branch in the fourth round.
Here's a scouting report:
Terrific size and bulk...Superb tackler...Real tough and physical...Will deliver the big hit...Very active and aggressive...Good range...Does a fantastic job against the run...Smart and instinctive...Very productive.
Just average speed...Doesn't have great hands or ball skills...Gets too high in his backpedal...Hips aren't real fluid...Will struggle to match up with wideouts in man coverage...Isn't very quick...A little inconsistent.
First name is "Clarence"...Actually arrived at Wake Forest as a wide receiver...Saw extensive action as a backup early in his career before taking over a starting job in 2007...Led the Demon Deacons in tackles as a junior...A blue-collar prospect who certainly isn't flashy but has adequate physical tools and even better intangibles...An in-the-box run supporter whose best fit at the next level will be as a strong safety.
Here's a highlight video:
Those that I confer with on a regular basis on this blog know that I'm a big fan of Vaughn. He has the prototypical size and speed that the Raiders crave from their secondary, and has been a true strong safety for Wake Forest. In 50 games for the Demon Deacons, Vaughn had 258 tackles, 22 passes defended, and 3 interceptions. I am very excited that the Raiders have scheduled a visit for Vaughn. I believe that he is a good fit for the Raiders' secondary, and its nice to know that the Raiders may feel the same way. Vaughn has graded out to the 3rd or 4th round of next month's NFL Draft, so it will be interesting to see if the Raiders decide to jump on him in the 3rd, as he likely won't be available by the time we pick in the 4th.
Thoughts and comments on Chip Vaughn?
UPDATE: In an apparent carpooling attempt, it appears that Vaughn's secondary teammate Alphonso Smith also has a visit scheduled with the Raiders. Per NFL.com:
Curry’s Wake Forest teammate, CB Alphonso Smith, has scheduled visits with the Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. Smith, who had an Atlantic Coast Conference career-record 21 interceptions at Wake Forest, is projected to be a late first-round, early second-round selection.
As a projected late 1st-early 2nd round pick, I would be disappointed if the Raiders drafted Smith in the 2nd round given the other more pressing needs this team has.