We have officially hit exactly a month until the Raiders open the 2017. It’s August 10 and on September 10, the Raiders will head to Tennessee to kick off their 2017 regular season. With 31 days remaining, let’s look at number 31 for the Raiders today.
CB Breon Borders
This undrafted rookie out of Duke has made a strong early impression. He was turning heads in offseason practices and a week into training camp, he was working with the first team in the slot.
His 12 career interceptions at Duke is sixth in school history and 34 passes defended is second in school history. He was remarkably consistent in his four seasons there, starting every game the past three seasons and putting up interception numbers of 2, 3, 3, and 4 and was named All ACC third team as a senior.
Jack Del Rio said he has been impressed with Borders’s ‘serious, no nonsense’ approach. It’s paying off early and he’s making a strong case to be a part of the regular season rotation at cornerback right away.
Who wore it best: S Jack Tatum (1971-79)
Tatum is probably more well known for wearing number 32 for the Raiders, but that's not the number he started his career with. He was still wearing number 31 when he made the hit that knocked the ball away from Steelers' John Fuqua which resulted in the infamous Immaculate Reception in 1972. He played his first three seasons in number 31 and was a Pro Bowler in 1973 before switching numbers. With Marcus Allen taking the prize as the best to wear number 32, Tatum gets his due as the best to wear number 31.
Tatum was a punishing safety in the NFL. He isn't in the Hall of Fame though several Hall of Fame safeties including Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson have said they patterned their game after Tatum. He was a Pro Bowler three straight years from 1973-75 and was the team's star free safety when they won their first Super Bowl following the 1976 season. After nine seasons with the Raiders, collecting 30 interceptions, he played a single season in Houston, adding another seven interceptions.