Where the Raiders have most improved

May, 30, 2013
5/30/13
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In a year of rebuilding there is no question the area in which the Oakland Raiders have most improved is in the secondary.

Oakland had perhaps the worst secondary in the NFL last season, especially at cornerback. But in the midst of rebuilding with younger and cheaper players, Oakland has boosted the position.

Oakland completed its improvement by signing safety Charles Woodson last week. It previously added Usama Young, who was cut by Cleveland.

At cornerback, Oakland added free agents Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter. Oakland drafted cornerback D.J. Hayden with the No. 12 pick.

Hayden just had surgery to repair scar tissue in his stomach after having a life-threatening heart surgery last November. He is not set to return to training camp, which starts late next month. Assuming Hayden recovers on time, he and Jenkins will likely get the first crack at starting with Porter being looked in as a No. 3 cornerback.

Jenkins and Porter have had similar career paths. They were considered solid players early in their careers, but their play has dipped in recent seasons. Still, they represent an improvement.

“The new cornerbacks are man-to-man guys, who will be aggressive. Woodson still has some football left. It should be better,” ESPN’s Matt Williamson said of the Raiders' secondary. “Oakland has some real pass-rush problems, which will hurt this group. But I’d now say it is slightly below average in the secondary, which is a big improvement from where the Raiders were last year.”

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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