Draft outlook: Safety

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 safety:

What the Raiders have: Stuart Schweigert, whom the Oakland Raiders selected in the third-round from Purdue in last season's draft, showed some promise as mostly a backup and also starting three games.

Oakland released Ray Buchanan, who did a respectable job last season in replacing the retired Rod Woodson. The 33-year old Buchanan, like Woodson, moved from cornerback to safety but the late-career transition was not the rousing success of the one Woodson made.

Derrick Gibson missed the entire 2004 season after a shoulder injury forced him to go on the injured reserve list, thus missing the entire season. Gibson has been a bust, to put it mildly, since the Raiders drafted him in the first round of the 2001 draft. Gibson has had problems staying healthy but even at full strength has not resembled first-round material.

The Raiders acquired Marques Anderson in late August in a trade from the Green Bay Packers. Anderson has the ability to make big hits but that skill seldom surfaced last season.

What the Raiders might do: To be fair, the Raiders pass rush must improve before they can expect the secondary to get better. The defense, however, needs help pretty much across the board and this position is no different.

Schweigert, while he needs to get better, appears ready to challenge for a starting job. While Buchanan was released, there does not appear to be a viable option currently on the roster who is capable of replacing him. That's one reason why it's not beyond the realm of possibility that the Raiders could resign him.

Oakland, nonetheless, will probably draft a safety at some point but since improving the pass rush is such an enormous need the Raiders will probably wait until Day Two to take a safety.

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

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