The Oakland Raiders returned to the field on Tuesday for their first session of Offseason Training Activities and it included one player playing at a new position.
Third-year defensive back Keith McGill was drafted by general manager Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders in the fourth round (116th overall) of the 2014 as a cornerback out of Utah. But just a couple of years into his career, head coach Jack Del Rio finds it in his best interest to change his position, especially since he's done both before.
“I think the biggest thing is to give him the opportunity to do what he may be best at," Del Rio said Tuesday after practice. "He played both in college. We just really felt like it was going to be hard for him at corner. We feel he has his best opportunity to contribute on special teams and as a safety."
McGill has played in 25 games over his first two seasons, totaling 12 tackles and one pass defensed. Even though he has limited game-time action, the Raiders think he can make an impact as a safety.
"We like his length. We like a lot of things about him," Del Rio said. "It’s just a matter of how far we can bring him, in terms of developing him, but that’s largely up to him. We’re going to give him every opportunity, knowing he can do some things at corner but we feel like his long-term future would be best served with him at safety.”
He provides solid size at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and has great range as a former cornerback. McGill showed that ability to play centerfield during Tuesday's practice when he made a nice break on a ball and intercepted quarterback Derek Carr.
“I would say he’s got great range. His ability to track the ball," Del Rio said. "There are some things that are not going to be quite as natural but we’ll work hard at that going forward. I think he’s comfortable back there. In his mind, he likes this opportunity. He can speak for himself, but in talking with him he was kind of excited about getting this opportunity.”
No doubt that the Raiders could use another safety after the departure of Charles Woodson, and if McGill keeps making plays like that the team will be happy with the move.null