The Oakland Raiders’ change at cornerback was a strong message from their new brass: No one is on scholarship and none of Al Davis’ decisions will be given special consideration moving forward.
The Raiders drastically changed the look of the cornerback position when they signed veteran Joselio Hanson. The 31-year-old was cut by the Eagles on Friday. To make room for Hanson, the Raiders surprisingly cut second-year cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke. He was a third-round pick in 2011.
Van Dyke was a classic Davis draft pick. He was the fastest runner at the combine in 2011 and the Raiders used a high pick on him because of his speed despite the fact that he wasn’t overly productive in college. Van Dyke struggled last year. He came back and had a nice training camp this season, but he wasn’t overly impressive in preseason games.
Still, because of the team’s investment in him, his youth and speed, he wasn’t considered to be in danger of being cut. No one expected Oakland to keep newly signed Coye Francies over a third-round pick like Van Dyke. This decision has to show the rest of the roster that few players are safe.
The Van Dyke cut comes on the heels of the team cutting 2011 fourth-round pick Chimdi Chekwa. He was put on the practice squad.
Hanson is a fairly respected nickel cornerback and he will give Oakland solid experience. Still, the Raiders are still in flux at the position for the long run. Bartell, Spencer and Hanson are not high-level players. They are all over 30 and all are signed to one-year deals.
So, while Oakland’s cornerback position -- which was very solid in 2010 with Nnamdi Asomugha and Stanford Routt as the starters -- is drastically different for the short term and it will likely look much different next year. It’s early, but you’d have to think a cornerback will be very high on Oakland’s draft wish list next year. The picks of Van Dyke and Chekwa were designed to fill the cornerback needs for years to come.
Meanwhile, in addition to Chekwa, the Raiders filled out their practice squad with defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga, center Colin Miller and running back Jeremy Stewart to the practice squad.