While the Raiders have stockpiled receivers and running backs, not to mention tight ends, one of the areas that I am expecting a real battle in is the defensive backfield.
As it stands, there are two positions that are filled. Nnamdi and Huff WILL start. So, that leaves one starting safety and one starting corner postion available.
Let's take a look at the players who will be battling for those two spots as well as the nickel and dime slots:
My favorite going into camp for the strong safety position is BJ Ward.
Whom you ask?
To which I emphatically respond, "JUST #1 on the depth chart from the Ravens last year!!!!" Yes, those same Ravens who have the most intimidating D in the league.
BJ was a standout talent at Florida State who holds the Fla State record for blocked kicks with 8. He is a sprinter and he hits like a ton of bricks. At 6'3" he should also be able to cover some of the bigger TE's in our division.
The only way I can see him NOT being #1 on our depth chart would be if his migraine problems continue.
He was put on IR last year because of his constant migraines. I had the pleasure of meeting him last week while he was in town for the first camp and he is a focused and pleasant personality which we all know this team can use more of.
If the migraines do persist the spot will go to Darnell Bing.
Yes, that is right, the Darnell to OLB experiment is over and he will be competing to be Huff's partner.
Bing is ready to compete and he would give a us a ball hawk who hits like Ronnie Lott and it would also give us two of the starting safeties from the greatest college game ever played, USC vs Texas 2006.
Third on the depth chart has to be Stu. Stu and Brayton are the designated whipping boys on D. And, in my opinion that critisism is justly dished out.
Stu seems to always take bad routes and is the type to get 20 half tackles in a game instead of solo tackles for loss. He also has a whopping 2 interceptions in 3 seasons. He is just not a play maker.
Now as far as play makers go, Eric Frampton may soon supplant Stu and start working his way up the charts.
The local boy, he played for Oak Grove in San Jose, stepped up in big games against USC and Oregon and Lane Kiffin has seen his play making ability up close!!!
He is a ball hawk who slipped down because of his forty time at the combine. He ran slower than any other safety. Let's hope that his game speed is what Kiffin drafted him for.
The good news about these battles is that each of the players who do not start can fill in on Goal Line D and special teams.
As far as the corner position goes it looks like Nnamdi will be starting at left corner and Fabian has a pretty tight hold on the other corner position.
The top challenger has to still be Stanford Routt. He plays the run batter than Fabian, but Fabian has shown to be a better cover corner. Stanford also has a couple of inches on both Washington and newcomer, John Bowie.
John Bowie is a speed burner that Kiffin and company had thier eye on early in the draft and ended up using the drafting with the Randy Moss pick.
He is a former track star who can return punts and I think will be a great nickle and dime back.
With all of this youth at the corner position it is a good thing that Duane Starks was resigned.
Starks will be able to mentor these corners. The average age between the four mentioned above is 23 years and 2 months!!!!
My guess is that the defensive backfield will end up being, Ward, Huff, Nnamdi and Fabe, but, they all have hungry and talented players breathing down thier necks.
Let's GO OAKLAND!!!