Oakland Raiders' general manager Reggie McKenzie focused a great deal of energy on the cornerback position this offseason. It was a glaring weakness in 2012 because of injuries and depth. The Raiders stocked the position via free agency and the NFL Draft to improve the product this year. Cornerback and linebacker are the two positions Oakland drastically upgraded. Now the concern is translating that to the field.
When the Raiders open training camp, this will be the most interesting position to see unfold. Coming into the NFL Draft, the Raiders targeted DJ Hayden as their guy. He has since suffered an abdominal injury that is not thought to be related to the torn vein he suffered in college. Head coach Dennis Allen believes Hayden will return for training camp and it is extremely important that he does. He already missed time his senior season and is now behind having missed offseason workouts. Hayden's recovery will be the topic come July 25th because he has a chance to make an impact as a starter.
With Hayden a question mark, the Raiders will turn to Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter to contribute as starters. Porter moved inside to nickle and played outside during the offseason workouts. He missed time last season with some injuries and missed some early offseason practices with a calf injury. He did participate in the final sessions and should be fine for training camp.
He played for Allen with the New Orleans Saints and had a memorable interception of Peyton Manning that he returned for a touchdown to seal their Super Bowl XLIV win. He will be a factor in the Raiders secondary plans this training camp with the opportunity to start or see a great deal of playing time on passing downs.
Jenkins comes to Oakland after five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. In those seasons, Jenkins started 48 games but only two in 2012 after the Cowboys drafted Morris Claiborne and gave big money to Brandon Carr. The former first round draft pick will have the chance to be a starter in Oakland opposite Hayden or Porter.
Joselio Hanson was one of the Raiders best defenders a year ago and their best cornerback option. He tied for the team lead in interceptions and led the team in fumbles recovered. He accounted for five of the Raiders 19 total takeaways in 2012. He is best when lined up in the nickle, but has the versatility to move outside. He will be in the mix for serious playing time in 2013.
Tags: DJ Hayden, Football, Joselio Hanson, Mike Jenkins, NFL, NFL Draft, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Reggie McKenzie, Tracy Porter