Despite their course of action in the NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders suggest not to read too much into the team drafting two safeties.
The perception is that third-year man Derrick Gibson, Oakland's projected starter at strong safety, could be on the hot seat after the team drafted Nnamdi Asomugha (California) in the first round and Siddeeq Shabazz (New Mexico State) in the sixth round.
Oakland drafted Gibson in the first round in 2001. He has played at times but also has been prone to injury.
Gibson began last season as a starter but Anthony Dorsett replaced him after getting injured. Dorsett played well enough to keep the job even after Gibson was healthy enough to return to action. The Raiders, however, released Dorsett in a cost-cutting move. As a rookie, Gibson showed signs of promise before a broken hand sidetracked his progress.
"That's a misperception, that we are disappointed with Derrick Gibson," Raiders defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan said. "He got injured last season and Anthony Dorsett took over, but we are totally expecting Derrick Gibson to take the position and fight like hell to make it his."
If the Raiders were, however, comfortable with Gibson's play, one must wonder why the team drafted two players in that area. Asomugha could likely push Gibson for playing time. Oakland probably would not have drafted Asomugha in the first round if it did not think highly of him.
Gibson is entering his third season, a time when a highly drafted player should be making his mark. For Gibson, that time needs to be now.