NFL Mock Draft 2011: Raiders' Defensive Needs As Exposed By The Broncos

The weakness of the Raiders’ defense was again exposed against the Denver Broncos. They give up to many big plays. While these long-strikes are an issue to take up with the entire defense, for the Raiders it highlights the need for a Free Safety.

The Raiders often line up in a single deep safety set. This is almost always the Free Safety. Last Sunday, this game into play as Tim Tebow split the middle for a 40-yard touchdown run. Micheal Huff was the last person who had a chance at him. The Raiders have been victimized time and again by long runs. Almost everyone features a missed tackle by the Free Safety as the last development before the back hits the open field.

It is not just the runs either. On Sunday when Tebow lofted a shot to the endzone. It went right through the DB’s, Stanford Routt, hands, but it was also Huff who was just a step late. While Huff has displayed his versatility this year and has made some big plays, he is also a free agent at the end of the year and he has failed to display the consistent tackling that makes him a great fit for the Raiders. This will be a position they consider upgrading.

In a Free Safety, the Raiders, as they do with most positions, will be looking for someone with size and speed. He needs to be a solid tackler and have good ball skills. Keep in mind that the Raiders do not have a first round pick and they aren’t likely to trade up into the first to take a safety. Here are some possible options for the Raiders in the second and third rounds.

This is not a strong class for Free Safety prospects. Rahim Moore, a Junior out of UCLA, is widely regarded as the best prospect. He is also projected to go before the Raiders make a selection. At this point, there really is only one guy that would seem to fit Oakland’s mold and resources.

Quinton Carter, a Senior Free Safety out of Oklamhoma is one of the three highest rated Free Safeties on most draft boards. He is expected to go in the second or third round. Carter is a solid tackler. He was second on his team in tackles in 2009 and he displayed his ball skills in a bowl game in ’09 that bay area fans are likely to remember, when he had a pick against Stanford. He is 6-1, 193 lbs and runs a 4.53 40.

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