Starters: Gareon Conley, Rashaan Melvin
Backups: Daryl Worley, Leon Hall, Shareece Wright, Nick Nelson, Dexter McDonald, Antonio Hamilton, Shaquille Richardson
Conley is back from his shin injury that cost him nearly his entire rookie season. He suffered a groin injury on the anniversary of suffering his shin injury, so that’s not great. I mean what are the odds of the another mysterious lingering injury happening to the same guy two years in a row? Presuming he is ok this time, his presence as the team’s 2017 top pick is monumental. It’s like having two top picks this year.
After bouncing around the NFL to five different teams in four years, Melvin is coming off a solid season with the Colts and his confidence is through the roof. If his game is near as big as his talk is, he could be special. He is on a one-year prove it deal hoping to earn a lucrative long term contract next offseason at the age of 29.
Worley is a talented former third round pick with 25 starts under his belt in two NFL seasons. He became available due to an incident in which he was charged with DUI, resisting arrest, illegal weapons possession and more. That incident had him cut by the Eagles a month after they made a trade to acquire him. He has impressed his coaches and is in line to be the nickel corner.
Leon Hall is another of Guenther’s former players added because of his familiarity with the system. The 12-year veteran spent his first 9 seasons in Cincinnati, but now at 33 he is joining his fourth NFL team in the past four seasons. He hasn’t started a full season since 2014 and his number of appearances has gone down every season since.
Hall is more of a mentor and insurance plan in case rookie fourth round pick Nick Nelson is not ready. Nelson tore his meniscus in a draft workout with the Lions. He is expected to be ready for camp, but being a rookie and missing an entire offseason can be a setback in their progress. Just ask Karl Joseph. Or Clive Walford. Or DJ Hayden.
Shareece Wright was signed this offseason as well. He will battle with returning players Dexter McDonald and Antonio Hamilton and journeyman hopeful Shaquille Richardson to find a spot on the roster.
The cornerback unit got a complete overhaul this offseason which brings many uncertainties with it. Sean Smith, David Amerson, and TJ Carrie are all gone. Conley, Melvin, and Worley take their places and appear to be an upgrade overall (thought that may not be saying much). Carrie was the only saving grace of the team last season in an overall pretty ugly year for the Raiders secondary. A facelift was needed and that’s what they got.
A fresh start always looks promising, but there are some questions. Conley has played all of a game and a half. Melvin has had just one solid season and it was in different system. Worley could be facing a suspension. Hall and Wright are both in their 30s and are recent journeyman backups. Nelson is injured and is a rookie. There is optimism, but I’m not ready to declare this position set for success.
What condition do you think the Raiders cornerback position is in?
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