Safety was the most dire position for the Raiders this offseason, due mostly to the retirement of Charles Woodson. But even if Woodson were still on the roster, it would be a position in need of an influx of talent. The Raiders recognized this need, with Jack Del Rio making it no secret they would be seeking to find starters and build depth at the position.
One way to do that is to add players, which the Raiders did by signing of former Bengals safety Reggie Nelson and drafting Karl Joseph in the first round. Another way is to move around players on the current roster, which according to assistant defensive backs coach Rod Woodson on the Rich Eisen Show, they are doing as well.
"Well, you know, we have Nate Allen already there (at safety)." Woodson said. "We [drafted] Karl Joseph . . . Then we moved a guy from our corner spot, Keith McGill, to a safety spot. He's very lengthy. I think he could be a really good safety in the national football league. And then we got some young guys who are starting to get a feel for who they are and how good they can be."
McGill was chosen in the fourth round of the 2014 draft as a cornerback out of Utah. He is 6-3, 211 pounds, which is quite big for a corner, but the Raiders like big corners so they tried him there. Then they added a couple good sized corners in David Amerson last season and Sean Smith this offseason, which only stood to bury McGill on the depth chart after already seeing just one start in two seasons in Oakland.
This isn't foreign territory for McGill. He was a JuCo All American at free safety which earned him his transfer to Utah. He continued to player safety his first season with the Utes before being lost with a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the entire 2012 season. When he returned for the 2013 season, they switched him to cornerback.
The move to safety gives McGill a shot at being the eventual replacement for Reggie Nelson who will turn 33 at the beginning of the season.