Oakland Raiders Safety Mike Mitchell: How He Will Shore Up the Run Defense

big ROC Stockton, CAAnalyst IIIJune 29, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs against Mike Mitchell #34 of the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 7, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Michael Huff is likely done in Oakland.  If the Raiders want him back, they would have to pay him $6.4 million because his salary escalated at a higher rate than 30 percent from 2009 to 2010.  

Obviously $6 million for a safety of Michael Huff's caliber wouldn't be spending your money wisely.  Then again, Stanford Rout will get paid $30 million over the next three years—but I think Huff is done.

The Raiders have been sitting on Mike Mitchell for a few seasons now waiting for Huff to do something.  Now, with Huff out of the way, he is going to get the opportunity to start at one of the safety positions.  

I think Mitchell is best suited as strong safety and that eighth man in the box.

The Raiders run defense improved last season but still ranked near the bottom.  The reason for this was that they gave up too many long runs last year.  The Raiders would be playing some stout run defense, but then the running back would get to the second level of the defense—next thing you know, he's gone.  

Frank Gore got past Huff for a couple of long runs.  Chris Johnson burned the Raiders defense for a long run even though Tyvonn Branch should have stopped him at the line of scrimmage.  The Jaguars' backup RB came in and ripped off an 80-yarder.  

These are just the ones that I remember.  I know there are more.  What I am saying is that these long runs don't happen to teams with a good strong safety.  

I know it is a team sport and everybody has to do their part.  I know the linemen and linebackers have to do their part, but when I watched the games, I saw the Raiders playing some strong defense.  The linemen and LBs would be stuffing the run down after down, then the Raiders would have one of their safeties in position to make a stop only to get run over or juked by the RB on his way for a big gain.

I think Mike Mitchell is going to make those plays when the Raiders need him to.  He is fearless when it comes to contact. 

They don't call him "The Missile" for nothing.  

He has the size to mix it up in the box, and at 6'1", 225 lbs, he is bigger than most RBs.  He also has sub-4.4 speed and is very good playing man against tight ends.  Mitchell is going to give the Raiders that physical presence in the secondary like they were known to have back in the day.  

Well that's it, Raider Nation.  I think the Raiders run defense is going to be improved if they make this move.  What do you think?