Editor’s note: In the buildup to the 2014 NFL Draft (May 8-10) CSNBayArea.com will have content every day, including position breakdowns, retrospectives, mock drafts and more. Bookmark our Road to the NFL Draft and set your DVRs for April 29, when the Raiders 2014 Draft Special debuts on CSN California at 8:30pm.
The Raiders hoped to pair Charles Woodson with Tyvon Branch last season, creating a safety tandem that would allow both men to make big plays.
The duo didn’t last two games. Branch was lost for the year with a fractured fibula in a Week 2 victory over Jacksonville.
They’ll try it again this season, with Branch healthy and Woodson back on another one-year contract. Behind them, the Raiders don’t have much quality depth.
Usama Young is a strong player at both safety spots, but Brandian Ross struggled filling in for Ross next season. The Raiders need another body and may get one in this draft or the next.
It’s highly doubtful that they’d use an early pick on a safety, but they could add bodies later on.
Who's here: Charles Woodson, Tyvon Branch, Usama Young, Brandian Ross, Shelton Johnson
Draft needs: The Raiders need someone to pair with Branch in the long term, and they could pick up a developmental prospect to learn under Woodson.
Good fits: Free safety Tre Boston from North Carolina projects as a sixth-round pick, and could offer good value there. He’s big, physical and aggressive, and while he might need some seasoning, the Raiders can afford to wait a year before asking him to contribute. Strong safety Ahmad Dixon might be a player down the line and would offer depth should Branch go down again. Ed Reynolds from Stanford could be a player at the next level, but he might be gone in the fourth round, before the Raiders want to select a safety.