Scott Kane-US PRESSWIRE
The Raiders could use a solid addition to their cornerback roster in this year's free agency. There are plenty from which to choose.
It's quite shocking the sheer number of good corners who have either been cut recently or are set to become free agents. It is setting up like Oprah put one under everyone's chair - YOU get a corner, YOU get a corner, YOU get a corner!
Here are the top cornerbacks on the Raiders wish list this free agent period:
Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen is they like big corners. Sean Smith fits that mold. He also likes players without injury concerns. The four year corner has missed just one game in his career and started nearly all of them as well. There are no better areas to make a splash for the Raiders than corner and there will be few if any targets who are as young and talented as Smith.
"Smith is one of the most infuriating players on the Dolphins' roster," says Kevin Nogle of The Phinsider. "One game, he looks like a shut down corner, covering players like Larry Fitzgerald or A.J. Green. The next game, he is getting torched repeatedly... His size is outstanding... Smith could still be developing, and seems to still be on the upswing of his career."
He isn't a lock down type corner with QB's completing 56% of their passes against him on 94 attempts last season. But with that comes many reliable qualities such as he will not gamble and give up the big play. This fits perfectly with the Raiders' zone scheme secondary and Jason Tarver's "bend but don't break" philosophy.
"Chris Houston was acquired by the Lions in 2010 after not doing much with the Atlanta Falcons," said Sam Yuille of Pride of Detroit. "In Detroit, Houston has turned his career around, and last season he really emerged as an excellent cornerback. His teammates voted him defensive player of the year for his play in 2012."
Brad Fletcher, 26, Rams
Fletcher is a player who has always played well when he has been healthy, but just can't stay on the field for long enough to make people sit up and take notice. The Raiders took a flyer on a Rams corner last offseason when signing veteran Ron Bartell and that move failed miserably but Fletcher is much younger than Bartell was (30). The connection here is with Raiders defensive backs coach, Clayton Lopez. Fletcher had his best season in 2010 when Lopez was his position coach.
The Raiders were interested in Porter last offseason. His defensive backs coach in New Orleans when he had the game-winning interception in the Super Bowl was Raiders head coach Dennis Allen so the interest is understandable. But Porter opted to sign in Denver instead, likely because the Raiders couldn't offer him a good deal. They will have another shot at him this offseason and his price tag will not only have gone down, but the Raiders can offer a bit more this time around. But after a somewhat disappointing season as a Bronco, it will be yet another one-year deal.
Chris Gamble, 30, Panthers - Was cut by the Panthers in a cap move. The 9-year vet was injured all but four games last season but had 3 interceptions and 12 passes defended two seasons ago. UPDATE: Gamble has told his agent he wants to retire.