One story in a series on the 2003 NFL Draft, held April 26-27, and how it pertains to the Oakland Raiders needs. Today – a look at cornerback:
The Raiders have potentially a dynamic set of cornerbacks in Charles Woodson and Phillip Buchanon – if they can stay healthy.
Oakland entered last season with that thought in mind but those two players combined to miss a total of 18 regular season games. Woodson had a fractured shoulder blade and a broken bone in his leg while Buchanon ended up on injured reserve with a broken wrist.
Woodson is an elite corner when he is healthy while Buchanon is potentially a player in that mold. Buchanon struggled at times in coverage but showed that he can be an electrifying player as a punt returner or after intercepting a passes.
Oakland has two reliable backups in Terrence Shaw and Clarence Love but may want to add another player at this position just in case it suffers injuries once more.
Kansas State’s Terrence Newman is considered the best cornerback in the draft but the Raiders, who have the 31st and 32nd picks, have more pressing needs. Plus, Newman will assuredly be gone by the time Oakland picks.
If Oakland decides to wait until late on the second day of the draft, Vanderbilt’s Rushen Jones, Mississippi State’s Korey Banks and Tulane’s Lynaris Elpheage should still be on the board.
Jones lacks great speed but makes up for it with confidence and savvy. Banks is capable of covering slot receivers but the knock on him is recognition skills. Elpheage provides versatility.
Vince D’Adamo can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org