Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC West [Print without images]

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Report: Michael Huff to move to CB

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

The Oakland Tribune is reporting that coach Hue Jackson will move safety Michael Huff to cornerback for the 2012 season.

Huff is a versatile player who played some cornerback in college at Texas. He has occasionally played cornerback in Oakland, usually in nickel situations.

It’s an interesting decision. I think I’m most struck by the timing of it. The Raiders’ season ended two days ago.

The Raiders could fire defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan and hire a new coordinator. You would think the new coordinator would have a say in that division. Also, you would think the Raiders could go through free agency and the draft (although they don’t have many picks) before deciding exactly what the lineup is going to look like.

So, I could see the division being a tentative plan predicated on upcoming moves.

If Huff does move, then safety will be a need for the Raiders.

I have no doubt Huff can play cornerback and he will be an upgrade over several players Oakland used opposite Stanford Routt in the first year without Nnandi Asomugha, who signed with Philadelphia as a free agent. Still, I’m not sure if Huff will be a Pro Bowl-level cornerback.

Also, what does this decision mean for 2011 draft picks DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa? The team has to make sure they continue to develop these players, although Chekwa could also play safety.

Again, it’s early and plenty will happen in the coming months, but this move is a sign that Jackson is willing to think about everything as he moves forward.

UPDATE: Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. gave me his thoughts on the move: "When he came into the league, many were really high on him because they thought he could do both and be a real strong hybrid type at both positions. But the Raiders play a ton of man coverage. If he were going to excel at cornerback, I would think it would be in much more of a softer zone scheme. He will be physical with his initial jam, but I worry about his turn-and-run skills for man coverage."