For anyone who ever questioned the Raiders history of great cornerbacks or the value Al Davis placed on the position, I give you exhibit A: The NFL’s list of the Top 10 cornerbacks of all time. Pay particular attention to the top five.
Here’s that top 10 list along with the teams each player played on:
- Deion Sanders — Falcons, 49ers, Cowboys, Washington, Ravens
- Rod Woodson -- Steelers, 49ers, Ravens, Raiders
- Mike Haynes — Patriots, Raiders
- Charles Woodson — Raiders, Packers, Raiders
- Willie Brown — Broncos, Raiders
- Mel Blount — Steelers
- Darrell Green — Washington
- Aeneas Williams — Cardinals, Rams
- Richard Sherman — Seahawks
- Mel Renfro — Cowboys
Each of the picks from 2-5 all wore a Raiders uniform. Rod Woodson may be cheating a little bit considering he was a safety by the time he joined the Raiders. He spent his final two seasons in Oakland, his first being an All Pro season for the Raiders who went to the Super Bowl that year. He has had two stints as a DB coach for the Raiders and is currently the team’s cornerbacks coach.
Speaking of Raiders DB coaches, Willie Brown has been with the Raiders in some capacity since his retirement in 1967 -- first as a player, then as a coach. The team acquired him in trade with the Broncos in 67, beginning a string of 7-straight Pro Bowls with four All Pros mixed in. He retired after the 1978 season as a Super Bowl hero, immediately joining the coaching staff and has never left.
Haynes split his career evenly between the Patriots and Raiders (7 and 7). But it was in Oakland he teamed up with Lester Hayes and got his Super Bowl ring.
Woodson was, of course, drafted by the Raiders as the only ever primarily defensive Heisman winner, played lights out corner in Oakland for 8 years, had a 7-year stint in Green Bay, and returned to Oakland as a safety to finish his career where it all began. In his final season, his third of his return to Oakland, he made a trip back to the Pro Bowl... at the age of 39.