For what it's worth, this will be an ongoing series of what I think needs to happen, or what I think will happen. For what I think needs to happen, I will obviously put out who, what and when I see as the best moves that are available at the time; for what I think will happen, it will be what I see as the moves that the Raiders will make, although I may or may not agree with them. So, let's get started with this installment, defensive back...
This is a position that I felt, like probably most fans, the staff, and the front office, that there was sufficient depth, with decent starters, to hold up well enough during the season. As it turned out, injuries once again became an issue, and some poor play from backups forced into starting roles proved that early optimism wrong.
Patrick Adams: Turned in some very uneven play; decent one week, lost the next. He is clearly not a starter, and has now brought into question whether he can be a serviceable backup. He is a free agent, and I wonder if Reggie won't bring in someone else that can be more consistent.
Johnny Adams: A reserve/future contract signing, he is a bit short, but with nice speed and other measureables. Could very well be a challenger for Chekwa's roster spot, if he can prove able to provide some decent DB play as well as special teams.
Casey: Looked pretty decent in limited time in preseason, he may well be the guy to unseat either Chekwa or Adams. For Chekwa, he will have to do well as a special teamer, so I think that Adams is more likely who he will be battling.
Chekwa: A good special teams player that really doesn't seem to be an NFL-caliber defensive back. That is not knocking him, just what I see. He should have a good chance to be re-signed, but until or unless he improves his DB skills, he will likely always be one of those 'bubble players' that end up playing long enough for a decent career, but with a number of different teams.
Jenkins: An aggressive player that lost too many gambles this year; will he be brought back? I suspect that the answer to that is how Reggie sees the free agent market shaping up. If Jenkins can be re-signed to a reasonable contract as the dime/nickel back, he will likely return; if he wants more money or a real opportunity to start, I believe he will be allowed to walk.
Jones: Another special teams guy, but much more accomplished than Chekwa. I want to see how his skills at DB are progressing when he plays in preseason; if he is able to hold his own, his value to the team will increase greatly.
Porter: A free agent, in my opinion he played well enough to be brought back. The problem was that he was a bit uneven as a starter, and I think that a DB will be drafted or signed in free agency; he may end up as the nickel back. While that would be good for the team, he may not be happy at not being a starter. It may depend on how the staff views him in the locker room.
Hayden: A decent rookie season, given the circumstances. He had another surgery to clear scar tissue that cost him valuable playing time during preseason, then ended up with an injury that ended his season prematurely, just as it seemed it was coming together for him. I think he will compete for, and likely win, the DB2 slot next year, and challenge for DB1 the following year. The only hindrance I see to his continuing progression would be injury, but even saying 'injury-prone' at this point is pretty silly.
There will be some turnover at this position, but it's hard to say right now just how much. Jenkins may or may not come back, or be asked to; I think Porter will, but we'll see what happens; I expect Adams to be gone, possibly Casey if he doesn't step it up, and Chekwa's spot may hinge on his preseason play. With a solid veteran free agent and Hayden starting, and Porter at nickel, it's a good start, but we'll still need to find that elusive depth. Another player or two and we could be in pretty good shape.