Tyvon Branch, who clocked the fastest 40 time among defensive backs at the Scouting Combine, played cornerback in college but is almost certain to line up at safety with the Raiders. That could mean the end of the line in Oakland for veteran free safety Stuart Schweigert.
Branch developed a reputation as a physical player during four seasons at Connecticut and is considered a strong tackler who has the size -- 5-11, 204 pounds -- and speed the Raiders need in their secondary.
Oakland's brass obviously liked him. The Raiders traded their own fourth-round pick and added their first selection in the seventh round to move up four spots in order to get Branch, who will initially get work with the Raiders' special teams.
"He's a hard-hitting young man," Oakland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. "He's really fun to watch. We really like the way that young man hits. It's fun to see a guy throw his body around and tackling. We know we had an issue there and we're looking to upgrade and I think we did that with that pick."
The Raiders already have their starting safeties in Gibril Wilson and Michael Huff. Wilson was signed as a free agent in the offseason and will play strong safety while Huff, a first-round draft pick in 2006, is moving to free safety.
Schweigert, a third-round pick in 2004, could be the odd-man out. He has played in 63 games over four seasons, most of them as a starter, but he fell out of favor with the club in 2007 when he was eventually replaced in the lineup by Hiram Eugene.
Oakland also traded cornerback Fabian Washington to Baltimore in exchange for a fourth-round pick the Raiders ultimately used on wide receiver Arman Shields of Richmond. Shields missed much of 2007 with a torn ligament in his left knee but caught scouts' attention when he caught 12 passes for 107 yards in the season-opener against Vanderbilt.
With their sixth-round pick the Raiders took defensive end Trevor Scott of Buffalo. Scott is a former tight end who didn't play defense until his senior season in college where he developed into a fairly solid pass-rusher.
Oakland's final pick in the draft was used to take Chaz Schilens of San Diego State, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound wide receiver who was also bothered by injuries as a senior.
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