The Raiders have released second-year cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke and replaced him on the roster with seven-year veteran cornerback Joselio Hanson, as the team began its first practice with a 53-man roster Monday morning.Van Dyke was a third-round pick, No. 81 overall, out of Miami in 2011 after running a 4.28-seconds 40-yard dash at the Combine. Having appeared in 14 games as a rookie, he is not eligible for the practice squad.Hanson, 31, spent one season with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech in 2004 before playing from 2006 through 2011 with Philadelphia. He has appeared in 104 career games, with 19 starts, and has four interceptions and 3 12 sacks.He played in 16 games for the Eagles last year, starting one, and, according to STATS Inc., had a "burn rate" of 50, having surrendered completions on 21 of 42 targets for 232 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 82.6 against.In his last four seasons combined, Hanson has given up completions on 54.5 percent of his targets for 5.3 yards-per-attempt with nine TDs and four interceptions and a 76.5 rating against.Van Dyke, meanwhile, had a burn rate of 43.8, on 14 of 32 targets for 167 yards, one touchdown, on INT and a 57.7 rating against.Both had one penalty last year, though Van Dyke had two with just the one enforced.Hanson served a four-game suspension in 2009 for violating the league's drug policy, claiming to have taken a diuretic, rather than steroids. He is one of four new Raiders since the team made its initial cut to 53 players on Friday, along with fellow defensive back Phillip Adams, linebacker Keenan Clayton and offensive tackle Willie Smith.
ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley’s name has been sullied, at least temporarily. He feared it would be long enough to send him free falling down the NFL Draft.
The Ohio State cornerback and top-15 prospect was accused of rape stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland, an allegation he called “completely false.”
The Raiders clearly believe him. That’s why they drafted him No. 24 overall on Thursday evening, and expect him to be a long-term solution in their secondary.
Conley wasn’t sure how far he’d fall after being beaten down by one rough week, when the allegation went public. Reggie McKenzie’s first-round selection and subsequent call was more emotional than expected.
“It made it 10 times more special,” Conley said Thursday night in a conference call. “Just having that doubt in my mind, just not knowing (how far I would fall). Just having faith and having doubt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When it came, it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”
Being a top pick was expected after an excellent career at Ohio State. The rape accusation threatened to destroy his draft-day dreams despite the fact he has not been arrested or charged in relation to the incident.
Conley said he volunteered to take a polygraph test that was shared with NFL teams, and reportedly passed the one he took. He said in a statement there are witnesses and video evidence proving he didn’t do anything illegal.
Conley spent the last few days trying to proclaim his innocence.
He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police on Monday to discuss the April 9 incident -- he'll also submit a DNA sample, according to ESPN -- where group sex was involved and a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted.
Conley believes his name will be cleared in time.
“I’m very confident it will be resolved," Conley said. "I took a test today that helps. Then when I made my statement and all the evidence that I have, I feel confident it’ll be resolved.”
Conley admits he shouldn’t have put himself in a compromising position, which occurred at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.
“I could’ve made way better judgment,” Conley said. “I mean, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could’ve made a better decision.”
Conley hopes to move beyond it quickly and start focusing on football. He is scheduled to fly west for a press conference on Friday.
Conley is thankful to the Raiders for believing in him despite his recent troubles.
“It’s off the charts, honestly,” Conley said. “Just to know that they have faith in me, not even just as a football player but as a person like that, it speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it. It’s an honor to be a part of the Raider organization.”
ALAMEDA -- The Raiders used the No. 24 overall pick on Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley. This wasn’t a second-round flier or a late-round gamble.
That’s a first-round pick. Rolling the dice this early is ill advised. The Raiders don't believe they did with a selection accompanied by a $5.78 million signing bonus, $10.5 million in total money and a valuable fifth-year option to keep a player in town.
They wouldn’t risk such an asset on someone in serious legal trouble. The Raiders did significant research on Conley, who was accused of rape earlier this week, before making a selection. Results gave the Raiders confidence in their choice.
Conley has not been arrested or charged over an allegation that stems from an April 9 interaction in a Cleveland hotel.
Conley said the accusations are “completely false,” in a statement released by his agent. He claims to have witnesses and video evidence that he didn’t do anything illegal during an exchange where group sex was involved. He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police about the allegation on Monday.
Conley said he took and passed polygraph test prior to the draft, hoping to avoid a free fall into the draft’s later rounds.
The Raiders clearly believe him. They wouldn’t have used such a high pick on the Ohio State cornerback otherwise. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said the team thoroughly investigated the matter, and felt comfortable using a high pick on someone who sat alone atop their draft board at No. 24 overall.
“We did our due diligence throughout this whole process,” McKenzie said Thursday night, after making the Conley pick. “We trust our research, reports, everything that we have on Mr. Conley. We feel really good about picking Gareon Conley and having him join the Raiders team and having him be a great teammate for our players.”
McKenzie didn’t detail the Raiders research efforts, but didn’t seem concerned about this off-field issue.
“I don’t want to get into all the details,” McKenzie said, “but the bottom line is that we’ve done miles and miles of research to make sure we were totally comfortable with our decision, which we were.”
McKenzie said he spoke with owner Mark Davis about Conley, as he does most first-round options.
The Raiders were impressed by Conley’s workouts and his game tape. The rape accusation obviously gave the NFL pause regarding his draft status, and he slipped somewhat in the first round.
The Raiders are confident following an internal investigation that his legal troubles will pass without incident.
“The research was done,” McKenzie said. "It wasn’t just a gut (feeling). It was based on research, and we’re very confident in all the information that we got.”