Defensive back Shaun Prater #28 of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes returns a pass interception
There is no position the Raiders have overhauled like the cornerback position. They got rid of 2011 starters Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson and replaced them with free agents Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. They join second-year corners DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa.
But despite the tinkering being done, it is far from settled. Bartell and Spencer were signed to one-year deals and the team doesn't yet know what they have in Van Dyke and Chekwa. McKenzie would like to continue to add his guys through the draft and head coach Dennis Allen is a defensive back guru. All of this signals a high likelihood of the team drafting a corner.
The team is also switching from the man defense for which the Raiders secondary was synonymous and moving to a zone scheme. To do that, they need to build the secondary with guys who corners who fit that scheme. Young players who will be in Oakland long term.
These are the corners in this draft McKenzie and Allen could look at as the future for the Raiders are cornerback.
Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina Round 3
There are probably a few teams that are hoping this small school phenom slips past other teams' attention. He has great size at 6-0, 203 pounds and athleticism (4.5 40 yard dash). His tape alone makes him an intriguing prospect. He has displayed skills that translate to both man and zone schemes. But until the Senior Bowl there was the usual lingering wonder about how he would perform against top tier talent. He seized the opportunity and looked fantastic in the game, raising the likelihood that some team will jump to acquire him instead of waiting to see if he will fall. The Raiders will not be moving any higher than their first pick at 95 so they don't really have any choice but to hope.
Chase Minnifield, Virginia Round 4
Chase's father, Frank played corner in the NFL for nine seasons so Chase had the instincts inherited and his whole life to refine his skills. At 6-0, 185 pounds, he is pretty scrawny. To this point he has used his long arms and leaping abilities to overcome any bulk concerns. He is highly regarded as a strong character performer and leader and is not afraid of contact. The 2-time All ACC first teamer played in every game during his four years at Virginia including starting every game for the Cavaliers that past two seasons. Over those two seasons he had 98 tackles and 9 interceptions. He didn't workout at the combine due to a knee injury but he is known to run about a 4.5 40 yard dash as well as having an impressive vertical leap.
Shaun Prater, Iowa Round 5
A veteran of a Hawkeye zone scheme, starting nearly every game at left cornerback the past three seasons. He is seen as more of a nickel corner at the NFL level mainly due to his struggles with matching up with bigger receivers. He was impressive in the East West Shrine Game this year defending several passes and nearly picking off a few as well. He is a bit undersized at 5-10, 185 pounds but considering that may be his biggest flaw, it speaks well of him.
Coryell Judie, Texas A&M Round 6
Late in the draft is a great time to grab a corner with some coverage deficiencies to move to safety. Judie has only started one full season of college football as a juco transfer and missing six games as a senior due to injury. It is especially impressive considering he was just a track guy in high school. He has progressed rapidly to his junior season in which he had 57 tackles and 4 interceptions. If there was anyone paying close attention to what Judie was doing in his two seasons with the Aggies, it was Dennis Allen as Texas A&M is his alma mater. He ran a 4.48 40 yard dash.
Undrafted free agents
D'Anton Lynn, Penn State 6-0, 205, 4.55 40