Raiders add a pair of cornerbacks to bolster secondary

Photo of Raiders add a pair of cornerbacks to bolster secondary
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It’s no secret the Raiders had a bare-bones secondary entering free agency, especially at cornerback. After releasing Sean Smith and David Amerson and seeing TJ Carrie sign with the Cleveland Browns, the unit had virtually nothing aside from Gareon Conley.

Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie bolstered the cornerbacks corps Friday with two additions, Shareece Wright and Rashaad Melvin. Wright posted on Instagram that he’s headed to Oakland and ESPN first reported to Melvin signing. Both are reportedly signing one-year deals.

Melvin, the former Indianapolis Colts cornerback, is the far more notable signing since he’s a strong candidate to start opposite Conley in 2018. Now Gruden’s cornerbacks group consists of Conley, Melvin, Wright, Dexter McDonald and Antonio Hamilton. By no means do the signings rule out the Raiders taking a cornerback like Ohio State’s Denzel Ward at No. 10 in April’s draft (the Raiders could even go with someone like Central Florida’s Mike Hughes at No. 41 in the second round). If anything, the additions add some depth to a unit that had anything but that entering the week.

Melvin entered the league in 2014 and has played for the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots and Colts. He owns 120 career tackles and three career interceptions. Despite the numbers not popping out, he’s an upgrade from two of the three cornerbacks already on Oakland’s roster.

Here’s a clip of Gruden praising Melvin when calling a Colts-Tennessee Titans Monday Night Football game:

Wright, however, may only be competition in training camp. Best known for taking a nearly-$1000 Uber from Chicago to Buffalo to make Bills minicamp in time last year, Wright doesn’t fill the same need of a starting cornerback that Melvin does. Wright entered the league in 2011, and has played for the Chargers, Ravens and Bills. He has 273 tackles and a pair of interceptions to his name.

Here’s his post announcing his move:

There have been other times that general manager Reggie McKenzie has signed free-agent cornerbacks to start that were one-and-dones. In 2012, McKenzie brought in Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Bartell lasted less than half the season. In 2013, the Raiders added Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter. In 2014, it was Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers.

Then there’s Sean Smith, another recent high-profile free-agent signing that didn’t work out.

We’ll see if this batch of Oakland additions pans out better as the Raiders continue to reshape their roster.

view The Mercury News
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