Grading the Raiders defense: Cornerback

Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Oakland Raiders progress report on rebuilding of defense

The Oakland Raiders are rebuilding their defense from the bear bones on up. Continuing my look at the rebuilding process, today we take a look at the cornerback position. You can also check out the first three posts on the defensive end, defensive tackle and linebacker positions.


Cornerback

And here is where things start to go downhill for the Raiders defense, and in a big way. Much like the linebacking unit, the cornerback unit for the Raiders was torn down and rebuilt before last season. But because the corners signed last year were on one year deals, they are no longer with the team, and the Raiders found themselves needing to find starters at corner again this off season. McKenzie finally added his first free agent CB last week in Tracy Porter, then added two more this week with Mike Jenkins and re-signing Joselio Hanson.

Porter and Jenkins join a group of young corners, some with potential but none who are starting caliber contributors. Already on the roster is Chimdi Chekwa, Phillip Adams, Coye Francies and practice squad players Cory Nelms and Brandian Ross. Finally, former runningback Taiwan Jones is going to try his hand at playing CB this season as well.


As per usual on here, I am dismissing the practice squad players. I have not heard anything about any of them that would leave me to believe that there is potential for one or more of them being contributors in 2013. Coye Francies is a guy whose presence on the team just confuses me. He looked terrible last season and did not add anything to the team.

Chekwa and Adams are two guys with some real potential but who are not yet ready. Chekwa was a draft pick during the Al Davis era that was cut by Reggie McKenzie before being added to the practice squad. Then, last season he was brought back up to the regular roster due to injuries. He is a big bodied CB who has some work to do, but could be a good player. Adams saw playing time last season due to injuries and made the most of it, making two interceptions and five pass defended which are not bad numbers considering the limited time he played.

Both Porter and Jenkins are starting caliber players who are coming off of down seasons. Porter had injury issues in Denver that cause him to lose his starting job. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys brought in two corners, one via free agency and one via the draft, and as a result, Jenkins lost his starting job. That being said, both are young and feel like they have a lot to prove. Hanson spent part of 2012 with the Raiders and played fairly well. He is limited in what he can do, but the Raiders only want him to play nickel and that is what he is best at.

Overall position grade: C+


Tracy Porter had a bad year in 2012 and got very little attention in the free agent market, yet despite that fact, he still comes to the Raiders and is the clear number one starter. The same can be said for Jenkins, another young corner looking to have a comeback season in 2013. Hanson completes a starting trio for the Raiders and Adams and Chekwa have some potential, but neither is someone to get excited about at this point. If Porter and Jenkins can return to how they were playing a few years ago, this Raiders unit could be pretty good, but that's a huge if.

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