As we move farther and farther from the line, we reach the cornerbacks. Yet another position that saw a complete overhaul last season from 2012. Though the injury bug didn't hit the Raiders starters the way it did in 2012, the team was still under the same salary constraints when courting them. Here is how the Raiders cornerback position currently stands:
Tracy Porter - 16 starts, 2 int (1 TD), 13 PD, 66 tackles (53 solo), 1.5 sacks
Mike Jenkins - 15 starts, 2 int, 6 PD, 65 tackles (57 solo)
DJ Hayden - 2 starts (8 games nickel), 1 int, 2 PD, 26 tackles (23 solo), 1 FF
Phillip Adams - 2 starts, 0 int, 1 PD, 30 tackles (26 solo)
Chimdi Chekwa - 1 start, 0 int, 24 tackles (20 solo)
Taiwan Jones - Special teams, 15 tackles (13 solo), 1 FF
Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins were the ‘big' free agent signings asked to come in and start for the team. Porter had his moments and overall played a decent bit of cornerback for the Raiders, maintaining tight coverage on his receivers most of the time, and finishing with respectable pass defended numbers. Though he was far from elite.
Mike Jenkins struggled much of the season, mostly due to his penchant for allowing too much of a cushion and not being able to close the gap to knock the pass down, but rather attempting to tackle after the catch. Receivers averaged over 11 yards per catch on him. He also gave up 5 touchdowns and quarterbacks had a 104.8 passer rating against him.
D.J. Hayden basically played like a rookie. He was the team's first round pick and struggled in most areas, most notably tackling. He was lost to injury midway through the season and placed on injured reserve. Most rookie cornerbacks take at least a season to adjust to the NFL game so it's understandable.
Phillip Adams replaced Hayden in the lineup and he played poorly enough that the team replaced him with Chimdi Chekwa, who didn't appear to be an improvement.
Taiwan Jones was the gunner on special teams but officially a cornerback. He played at running back a couple of games when the team needed an injury replacement but then moved him back to corner to finish out the season.
Team need: High
Both starters, Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins, were on one-year deals which means they are set to become free agents. Porter is worth bringing back but there is no guarantee either will return. That leaves pretty much just D.J. Hayden as slated as a starter for next season. The Raiders cornerbacks were pretty abysmal overall so even if Porter returns, it could be as a nickel corner. Phillip Adams and Chimdi Chekwa are simply not options. There is no way the Raiders can go without adding a corner in free agency and probably the draft as well.