UPDATE: Packers trade Marques Anderson

In what could be construed as getting something for nothing, the Packers sent safety Marques Anderson to the Oakland Raiders on Friday in exchange for the Raiders' fifth- and sixth-round picks in next spring's draft.<p>

Anderson, a third-year pro, was the Packers' third-round selection in the 2002 draft. His stellar rookie season, however, was followed by a disappointing sophomore campaign.

Anderson was expected to beat out disappointing first-round pick Antuan Edwards for the safety spot opposite Darren Sharper last summer but failed. Edwards eventually was injured and Anderson assumed the starting spot. He didn't play well enough, however, to keep the Packers from signing Mark Roman during the off-season.

Roman and Anderson squared off in an open competition for the starting job this summer. They alternated lining up with the starters on a daily basis in practice and were supposed to do the same in the preseason. Anderson got the nod in the first preseason game against Seattle, and Roman was the starter the following week against New Orleans.

The battle was over at that point, with Roman taking Anderson's start last week at Jacksonville.

While Anderson is bigger and physically more impressive, Roman is a sturdy tackler who brings the cover skills of a cornerback. Roman's versatility should allow the Packers to unleash Sharper as a blitzer more often this season. Anderson's suspect tackling skills — he led the team in the dubious missed-tackles category the last two seasons — made him too unreliable to serve as a last line of defense for a blitzing unit.

The trade certainly is good for the Packers, who may have released Anderson during the final cutdown Sunday. Instead, they get two draft picks. For their part, the Raiders need a starting safety after Derrick Gibson suffered what could be a season-ending dislocated shoulder Thursday.

"I always looked at myself as a starter," Anderson told The Associated Press. "I always prepared as a starter and I think with Green Bay giving me (18 starts) it really matured me fast in the league. Now, I have the opportunity in Oakland to solidify myself as the starting safety."

With Anderson gone, the Packers likely will keep Bhawoh Jue and James Whitley as the backup safeties when the final cuts are made by 3 p.m. Sunday.

Anderson, a UCLA product, played in 30 career games with 18 starts. He has 139 career tackles (96 solo), five interceptions, two interception return TDs, four fumble recoveries and 17 passes defensed. Most of those big plays came during his impressive rookie campaign, when he always seemed to be around the ball.

The California native was happy to head home, and probably happy to get a new start on his career.

"I'm excited," Anderson said. "I'll be in California close to home and I'm ready to roll. I've enjoyed my time with the Packers but I look at Oakland as an opportunity to start."

The trade is conditional only upon Anderson (5-10, 210 pounds) passing the Raiders' physical.

Perhaps because he was given the opportunity to start the last two seasons but couldn't take advantage, Anderson leaves Green Bay with no hard feelings.

"It's professional. Sooner or later, everything will work itself out," he said. "This might not have been my time in Green Bay, but I'm a football player and I play football. I love the players, the coaching staff, the organization in Green Bay. But I'm going from one heavy traditional team to another. No hard feelings at all."


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