Draft outlook: Cornerback

This is one story in a series of position outlooks on the 2005 NFL draft as it pertains to the Oakland Raiders. Today, we look at cornerback:

What the Raiders have: Charles Woodson remains a member of the Oakland Raiders but for how much longer?

For the second straight season, the Raiders placed the franchise tag on Woodson. Nonetheless, Woodson still could have a new address sooner rather than later because he is not an exclusive franchise player, a status that allows him to negotiate with other teams. If he signs with another team the Raiders will receive two first-round draft picks. Oakland could also try to do a "sign and trade" move with Woodson.

Phillip Buchanon continued to give up as many big plays as he makes and also managed to find time to request a trade. It is unlikely the Raiders would make that move. Buchanon was part of the trade of head coach Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002. Buchanon has lived down to his billing since the Raiders drafted him in the first round in 2002 but he'll get every chance to prove that the move was worthwhile.

Then, there's Nnamdi Asomugha and Denard Walker. Asomugha, who enters his third season, showed flashes of promise while Walker struggled.

What the Raiders might do: To be fair, Oakland needs to improve its pass rush regardless of who is occupying the secondary.

A handful of people have labeled Woodson as "overrated" largely because his opinion of himself has not matched his performance in recent years. Nonetheless, he's a good enough player that the Raiders could get something for him in return. What type of value, who knows?

Regardless of what the Raiders d with Woodson, this position could use some help as well. Asomugha certainly looks as if he can be a capable starter but the same can't be said for Walker.

Since the Raiders need better pass rushers, they probably wouldn't take a cornerback until late on Day One or early on Day Two.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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