Oakland Raiders Vs. The AFC West: Cornerbacks

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Dec 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback T.J. Carrie (38) knocks down a pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Chris Hogan (15) in the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders

As curious as the second round selection of Mario Edwards was when the team needed a legit pass rusher though, perhaps an even bigger head scratcher – or incredible vote of confidence, depending on how you choose to view it – is the fact that McKenzie did nothing about the cornerback spot other than let Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown walk away in free agency. While Rogers’ departure isn’t a big deal considering he spent most of the 2014 season on IR, the decision to let Brown skip town without even trying to re-sign him is curious simply because while he was not flashy at the position last season, Brown was steady and played well.

That of course, leaves a trio of youngsters to man the position. Travis Carrie (2nd season), D.J. Hayden (3rd season), and Keith McGill (2nd season), for all intents and purposes, will be on an island at the cornerback spot. If they cannot hack it, help is not coming as the Raiders elected to not sign a veteran insurance policy – James Dockery aside, but he’s not even a lock to make the final 53-man roster.

The Raiders corners have an absolute ton of potential and upside. All three have shown flashes of greatness. But they’ve also showed a maddening inconsistency at times as well. And unfortunately, in the NFL, you can’t rely on potential – you have to be able to bank on production.

Hayden has to find a way to stay healthy and on the field – all while playing more consistently and to the potential McKenzie saw in him when he made the cornerback Oakland’s first round pick in 2013. Carrie and McGill both need to take big steps up from year one to year two.

The Raiders could potentially have the best corner unit in the division. Or they could have the absolute worst. We will know how it all plays out soon enough.

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