Towards the end of last season, Raiders safeties Karl Joseph and Erik Harris were both playing at a high level. Both will be back this season in the Silver and Black. However, depth is an issue and these two don’t exactly bring the star power many teams covet in the defensive backfield. The Raiders could look to bolster the back end of their defense with a safety on draft day.
The safety group this year is top-heavy, but there are quality prospects throughout. Here are a few of the guys the Raiders might consider.
Round 1- Nasir Adderley, Delaware
The former Blue Hen is the cream of the crop in the safety class this year. He didn’t work out at the Combine, but he had a terrific week at the Senior Bowl in front of the Raiders brass. Adderley is 6’0”, 206 pounds, and runs a 4.5 40. He has plenty of starting experience as a corner and could play there as well. He has fluid hips and quick feet and very good hands, notching nine interceptions over his last two seasons and improving his tackle numbers each year. He is ideal for covering tight ends with the size and speed to hang with them.
His only real issue is when he is asked to play single-high deep safety, he doesn’t have the best field vision and can be inconsistent in his coverage duties. He’s much better in the box and is dynamite in run stoppage.
Round 2- Johnathan Abram, Miss. St; Taylor Rapp, Washington
Johnathan Abram is here to hit people and chew bubble gum, and by God he’s out of bubble gum. Abram is a true heat-seeking missile who would much rather lay the wood on a receiver than grab an interception. He’s 5’11” and 205 pounds and runs a 4.45, so when he hits someone, they feel it. Abram takes fantastic angles to the ball and he has a nose for where the play is going. He’s rarely fooled by misdirection. He has a similar game to Karl Joseph, but is a little bigger.
Rapp is viewed as a very safe pick, as he’s good in coverage and like his teammate Byron Murphy has a tremendous football IQ. His real strengths are in open field tackling and run support, but he runs about a 4.7 so he isn’t fast compared to others at his position. He moves well and is able to cover tight ends, but his ball skills aren’t quite what you’d like to see in a top safety.
Round 4- Deionte Thompson, Alabama
If the college football season ended in October, Thompson may have been at the top of this list. He was getting consideration as a first-rounder in September and was a leader on the Crimson Tide defense. He stopped making plays, started missing tackles, and allowed explosive plays against him. Maybe he was listening to his own hype, maybe he was hurt and didn’t say anything, who knows. What we do know is that he was terrible at the end of the year and his stock dropped like a rock. However, his size and skill set are just fine and it’s likely that his issues were a matter of mental focus more than anything. The talent is there, but he may need to sit behind some established starters for a while to ease into the pro game. In that sense, Oakland would be an ideal destination for him.
Round 7- Andrew Wingard, Wyoming
Wingard is a former Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Colorado and has been a stalwart for Wyoming for the last few years. He is 6’0”, 209 pounds and is a tackle machine, currently 11th on the FBS total tackles all-time list. He has good speed at 4.56 and has good instincts and takes good angles to the ball. Athleticism is his major concern, but he will be a capable backup and should become a fan favorite with his long blond locks and hard-nosed style of play.