The Oakland Raiders defense, coming into the 2010 season, has much versatility. In case you did not know what that means, here's a definition: versatile—capable of doing many things competently.
Our defense is definitely capable of doing just that. Here is a breakdown of our versatile players:
Let's start with one of the best, Nnamdi Asomugha.
Asomugha was drafted in 2003 as a safety but made the switch to cornerback when he joined the Raiders. The switch to corner has been highly successful. If needed, he could go back to his original position at safety and still be successful, especially with his hard hitting ability.
Next up is Michael Huff. Huff has great coverage skills, and could easily make the switch to corner. He showed his big play ability with his three interceptions in the first two games of the 2009 season. I believe he could start opposite Asomugha and let Michael Mitchell and Tyvon Branch take over at safety.
On to the defensive line:
Starting with the best again, let's discuss Richard Seymour. Seymour is a force wherever he is on the field. He came from a 3-4 scheme playing DE. Now, in the 4-3 scheme, he could play either DT or DE.
Down the line is Tommy Kelly. Kelly played both DE and DT in the 4-3 defense. At 6'6" and 310 lbs., his build is similar to Seymour's. There are various looks in which the Raiders can use these two to keep the opponent off beat.
The new guy is Lamarr Houston. He is 6'3", 305 lbs. and, like Kelly and Seymour, can play both defensive tackle and end. He would be better suited at end so that Kelly and Seymour can stay inside and focus on clogging the middle and making plays.
Now on to the linebackers:
Starting with one of my personal favorites, Trevor Scott.
Standing at 6'5", 255 lbs., he started his career in Oakland playing defensive end. He was set to start in 2009 before the trade for Seymour happened. He was then converted to LB. With his pass rushing skills, he was perfect for the elephant role, where he recorded seven sacks. He is now the starter on the weak side but could easily move back to defensive end, especially in passing situations.
Kamerion Wimbley is another player coming from a 3-4 defense in which he played OLB. Many thought he was going to play DE, but right now he is pencilled in as the starting strong-side linebacker. He proved he could rush the passer by tallying up 11 sacks his rookie year.
But after that, he had a little sophomore slump and only had five sacks that year and four the following. He now has a fresh start with the Raiders and hopefully will get back to the quarterback.
With all the versatility the Raiders have on defense they have the ability to play in various formations and packages to stop the run and get after the quarterback. Call me crazy, but I'm foreseeing a top 10 to 15 D, especially with our improved offense