New Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith is bringing leadership to the team

New Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith is bringing leadership to the team

The Oakland Raiders took the field for their first Offseason Training Activities on Tuesday with their full roster, including a prized possession at cornerback. 

General manager Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders front office signed cornerback Sean Smith away from the Kansas City Chiefs in March, inking him to a four-year, $38 million contract. 

Smith spent the last three seasons with the Chiefs after starting his career with the Miami Dolphins from 2009-2012. Overall, he has 108 games (100 starts) over his seven seasons, totaling 350 tackles, 10 interceptions, 191 return yards for one touchdown, 80 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. 

He entered the league as a former second-round pick (61st overall) and possesses great size on the football field, standing at 6-foot-3, 218 pounds. 

“Sean is doing a great job, working hard," head coach Jack Del Rio said after Tuesday's practice. "He’s a big man. We knew that when we signed him. We like his size, we like his competitiveness. He’s going to be a terrific addition to our football team.”

But that's not all the seven-year veteran is bringing to the table. Del Rio has quickly noticed his ability to lead by example on the field.

“Good things, because the first thing you have to do is be here doing the right things yourself," the second-year coach said. "He’s been here doing all of the right things like spending time with the younger players at his position, coming in here and being a great teammate. It’s really been very positive."

Smith knows the Raiders defense has some young talent on the roster, but he wants to do what he can to bring out the best in the young guys around him.

“Just trying to come in and make guys better," Smith said after Tuesday's practice. "We have a very, very young team back there, especially in the secondary. I guess my job is to come in here and make them better mentally because they have all the talent and all the tools to make plays. Just have to get them up to par with me from a football IQ standpoint.”

Former first-round pick DJ Hayden could be one of those young cornerbacks that could benefit from Smith's arrival in Oakland. Hayden has largely struggled in his three seasons with the Raiders, totaling 142 tackles, one sack, 14 passes defensed and three interceptions in 34 games played.

But Smith is going to mentor him the same way he mentors all young players, telling them to play in the present.

“Look, I tell all the guys, regardless of who you are, myself included, the past is the past," Smith said. "The thing about football is you can always reinvent yourself. I had a chance to meet with him just for a brief second. There wasn’t too much to talk about. Just come out here with a whole new mind frame, a whole new mindset. Trying to repaint your image. Like I said, the past is the past, but you come out here and work, compete and try to get better. As long as you put it on tape, you’ll always have a job in this league. So, he has nothing to worry about.”

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