What are Raiders biggest needs for next season?
CB Mike Jenkins (left), DE Lamarr Houston (center) and S Charles Woodson are among the Raiders' free agents this offseason. (USATSI)
There are quite a few Raiders defenders heading toward unrestricted free agency this offseason. That’s a byproduct of signing so many to value contracts last year to help get right with the salary cap. It’s also why the unit had 10 new starters over a year ago and have nine entering unrestricted free agency. The unit played well early and finished in a tailspin that complicates its evaluation.
Now the Raiders must decide which players to go after and which ones to let go. Here’s a look at each guy and how he fared in 2013:
CB Phillip Adams (5-foot-11, 195 pounds, four seasons played, South Carolina State)
Stats: 2 starts, 27 tackles, 4 PBUs, 2 FRs
How Phillip fared: Adams was forced into action after No. 12 overall pick D.J. Hayden was lost with injury. He struggled as an outside corner in the nickel after spending the season’s first half as the No. 4 cornerback.
DE Lamarr Houston (6-3, 280, four seasons, Texas)
Stats: 16 starts, 71 tackles, 6 sacks, 2 FFs
How Lamarr fared: Houston was the Raiders lone pass-rushing threat up front, and fared well in his first season at right end. He was inconsistent down the stretch, which is due to fatigue, some excellent left tackles and offenses scheming against him.
DE Jason Hunter (6-4, 270, eight seasons, Appalachian State)
Stats: 11 starts, 27 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR
How Jason fared: Hunter started well enough, but quickly trailed off as a pass rusher and as an edge setter against the run. Hunter eventually lost grip on full-time snaps, being subbed out on obvious rushing downs. He was never a threat that could take pressure off Houston.
CB Mike Jenkins (5-10, 197, six seasons, South Florida)
Stats: 15 starts, 75 tackles 2 INTs, 8 PBUs, 1 FF, 1 FR
How Mike fared: Jenkins made several big plays and showed the talent of NFL starter. He got burned a few times taking risks and allowed a 70-percent completion percentage, which were strikes against him.
DT Daniel Muir (6-2, 322, seven seasons, Kent State)
Stats: 1 start, 14 tackles, 1 sack
How Daniel fared: The veteran played with a mean streak and was a big body on the second string.
CB Tracy Porter (5-11, 188 six seasons, Indiana)
Stats: 16 starts, 88 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 TD, 15 PBUs
How Tracy fared: Porter was a valued part on this defense. He played outside in the base defense and slot corner in the nickel package. While he was imperfect and better in some games that others, Porter showed a knack for breaking up passes and playing smart defense.
DT Pat Sims (6-2, 310, six seasons, Auburn)
Stats: 16 starts, 49 tackles, 1 sacks
How Pat fared: Sims was inconsistent early and so much better late that he probably earned a contract the Raiders won’t pay. Sims proved a strong run stuffer, especially when he was trying his best.
DT Vance Walker (6-2, 305, five seasons, Georgia Tech)
Stats: 15 starts, 48 tackles, 3 sacks
How Vance fared: Walker was a versatile tackle who played some end on rushing downs. He ranked among the Raiders best free-agent signings last offseason as a run stopper who occasionally flushed the pocket from the inside.
FS Charles Woodson (6-1, 210, 16 seasons, Michigan)
Stats: 16 starts, 133 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 8 PBUs, 4 FFs, 2 FRs
How Charles fared: Woodson played pretty darn well regardless of how old he was. The veteran was asked to play centerfield on most every play due to struggles at strong safety, which robbed some of his playmaking ability in the box.
S Usama Young (6-0, 200, seven seasons, Kent State)
Stats: 1 start, 27 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBUs
How Usama fared: The veteran was used far less than expected, especially after strong safety Tyvon Branch was lost to injury in Week 2. He was a quality reserve and a special teams player. Young missed the last four games with the neck injury.