Starters: Charles Woodson, Nate Allen
Depth: Brandian Ross, Larry Asante, Jonathan Dowling, Tevin McDonald, Jimmy Hall
Charles Woodson returns for the third season of his second stint with the Raiders. He is joined by Nate Allen who the team signed as a free agent from the Eagles. Brandian Ross and Larry Asante also return as reserve safeties along with 2014 seventh round pick Jonathan Dowling. Tevin McDonald and Jimmy Hall are both undrafted rookies.
Condition: Touch and go
The safety position could go either way this season. Woodson is the ageless one who will enter his 18th season and turn 39 in October. He played quite well last season lining up mostly at strong safety and leading the team with 111 tackles (81 solo). He is expected to line up there once again this season. The question always is how much longer he can continue to play at a high level and remain healthy. He has defied that question the past two seasons, starting every single game.
Getting the start at free safety is newly signed Nate Allen. He had his best season last year in Philadelphia. This time last year he couldn't get an offer for a long term deal from anyone. The Raiders stepped up this time and offered him the long term deal he was looking for, though it has no guarantees past this season in case he doesn't work out. They're as unsure as anyone if Allen can build upon last season.
Brandian Ross also had a resurgence last season. He started the season in 2013 but was among the worst safeties in football. After not making the roster out of camp last year, he signed with the Dolphins, but was soon cut by them as well. With the injury to Tyvon Branch, the Raiders brought him back just in time to face the Phins in London in week four. A few weeks back with the Raiders, and having moved from strong safety to free safety, Ross looked like a different player. He should be valuable as a reserve safety.
Asante spent some time with the Raiders last season. His physicality makes him an asset as a strong safety and special teamer. Dowling didn't show much as a rookie. He needs to bulk up to be effective. If not, Tevin McDonald or Jimmy Hall would love to jump up and earn a spot on this team.