Rounding off this year's Raider Draft Radar series, we have the safeties. The Raiders appear likely to look for a safety in this draft due to a great deal of uncertainty at the position. Though there are more immediate needs and this is not a very strong safety class.
The starters for the Raiders are 39-year-old Charles Woodson and recent free agent addition, Nate Allen. By this time next year, it's possible they could both be gone. Woodson will most likely retire and Allen is being given this season to prove he deserves to continue playing out his rather lucrative new contract. After that, there are former castoffs Brandian Ross and Larry Asante along with raw second year safety Jonathan Dowling.
These are the safeties in this draft who could pique the Raiders interest along with the round they are likely to be considered.
Derron Smith, Fresno State - Rd 3
At 5-11, 197-pounds, Derron Smith is a bit on the small side. If he were a couple inches taller, he could be a borderline first round pick based on his skills and extensive tape. He has averaged 86 tackles over the past three seasons and his numbers have improved each season, and had him named All conference three times. After sophomore seasons with 6 and 7 interceptions respectively, opposing quarterbacks decided not to test him as often as a senior, resulting in just one interception (he also didn't have Derek Carr packing points on the board to force the other team to put the ball in the air as much) But he still had a career best 93 tackles (66 solo) along with 8 passes defended. He is a free safety first but could also play strong safety if need be.
Adrian Amos, Penn State - Rd 4
There is little not to like about Amos. He is one of the best coverage free safeties in this draft actually, as shown by his having given up just 14 catches on 39 targets last season - three of which were intercepted. That's an opposing QB passer rating of 13.0 which is best in college football, according to College Football Focus. He has decent size and bulk at 6-0, 215 pounds. He was in the top ten among safeties in nearly every event at the combine including having the second best 20-yard and 60-yard shuttles. And of course the all-important 40-yard-dash of 4.56 which was 7th among safeties.
James Sample, Louisville - Rd 5
I'll be the first to say there is a good chance Sample is not still on the board in the fifth round. I could even see the Raiders considering him a round sooner. Sample is a 6-2, 192-pound strong safety who excelled at every facet of the game last season. The main reason he could drop to the third day is he has done it for just one season. But oh what a season it was. He had 90 tackles (74 solo) along with 4 interceptions and 12 passes defended. He was targeted just 34 times and gave up only 14 catches all season. Of his 90 tackles, 55 of them came against the run. He tied with Amos with his 7th best combine 40-yard-dash of 4.56. He is also a Sacramento native, making the Raiders a homecoming for him.
Akeem King, San Jose State - Rd 7
King started all last season at safety for the Spartans. The 6-1, 215-pounder was originally recruited to SJSU as a receiver and by his junior year, he was making the transition to defensive back. In 12 starts last season, he racked up 71 tackles and 2 passes defended. That season earned him an invitation to play in the Medal of Honor Bowl. He opened some eyes at his Pro Day with a 4.39 40-yard-dash, which earned a closer look from the Raiders who had him for a visit among other teams. He showed himself to be a very solid tackler with just 4 missed tackles all season on 734 snaps. That was fourth best in the country among safeties.