Oakland Raiders: 4 Defensive Backs Team Should Target to Replace Routt, Johnson
The Raiders are undergoing a lot of changes with a new regime in place and ridding the team of Stanford Routt and his bloated contract was one of the first roster moves of new general manager Reggie McKenzie.
While the move was necessary in order to get the Raiders closer to the salary cap, it still leaves a gaping hole at the corner position. Now that Chris Johnson was also released, rebuilding the secondary is now a top priority for the Raiders this offseason.
However, the Raiders will not be in the market for top corners; with little cap room and just two late-round picks to work with, Oakland's options will be limited in terms of adding talent to the roster.
Here are some players the Raiders should look at in order to get their secondary up to par.
With Dennis Allen at the helm as head coach, the Raiders will start to get away from their strict man-coverage schemes. Oakland will need to bring in more zone/safety hybrid-type of players, and Lowery fits the bill perfectly.
Traded from the Jets in the middle of training camp, Dwight has been a big reason for the revival of the Jaguar secondary. He is at his best as a ball-hawking free safety, but he also excels as a zone corner with great instincts and tackling ability, even if he does lack ideal straight-line speed.
Change is coming for the Raiders' defensive philosophy, and signing a guy like Lowery would clearly signify that.
After being a bit of a disappointment as a former first-round pick, Ross played very well at the end of the 2011 season which should allow for one team to give him a chance to be a starter.
Because the Raiders don't have a of cap room to work with, taking a gamble on a guy like Ross could be the most effective solution for solving their issues in the secondary.
He's best as a physical, man-coverage corner, which is exactly what Stanford Rout was supposed to be. Ross would be a bit of a downgrade in terms of overall talent, but the Raiders' cap situation does not allow them to spend big on talent upgrades.
With just two picks in the upcoming draft in the fifth and sixth round, the Raiders don't have a lot to work with in terms of improving their team through the draft this April.
However, they could find some value at the corner position to help them right away.
Jamell Fleming is best suited as a zone corner, but as the Raiders adapt their defense to a 3-4, the use of more zone concepts are inevitable.
He had an impressive Senior Bowl, so he may not make it to where the Raiders pick in the fifth round. But if he does slip, the Raiders should scoop him up.
Wright may be one of the more overlooked corners in the market, but the Raiders could certainly use him to cover the slot and plan in nickel-and-dime situations.
The team should be weary of offering him too much money, though—giving a lot of security from after one year of solid play is never a good idea.