One story in a series,
looking at position breakdowns for the Oakland Raiders, who arrive for training
camp in Napa, CA, on July 24. Today – a look at cornerback:
This position is a “good news, bad news” scenario for the Oakland Raiders.
The good news is that they have two of the best set of cornerbacks in the
NFL in Charles Woodson and Phillip Buchanon. The bad news is that those two
individuals played a combined 14 games last season. Woodson missed eight games
with shoulder and leg injuries. He was also absent from the Pro Bowl for the
first time in his five year career.
Buchanon, who Oakland selected with the 17th overall pick in
the 2002 draft, eventually supplanted Tory James as one starting corner before
landing on injured reserve for the final 10 regular season games plus the
The Raiders are facing a murky situation with Woodson, who enters the
final year of his contract. When healthy, Woodson is a premier player at his
position. The Raiders, however, cannot be totally blamed for being hesitant to
open their wallets for a contract extension since Woodson has experienced
consecutive injury plagued seasons. If Woodson is healthy, one of two things
could happen. Oakland would either granted Woodson an extension or he could
price himself out of the East Bay.
Oakland views Buchanon in much the same mold as Woodson, a premier corner
who can shut down opposing receivers. Buchanon’s return, however, would bolster
the Raiders in both the secondary and as punt returner (more on that later).
The Raiders also drafted Nnamdi Asomugha (California) with one of two
first round selections. Asomugha is versatile enough to play safety but will
likely push Terrence Shaw for time in the nickel defense. Shaw and Clarence Love
performed well as injury replacements last season. Shaw can be a capable backup
at safety as well.
Vince D’Adamo can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org