Ever since rookie Johnathan Abram went down with an injury in Week 1, the Oakland Raiders have been working out defensive backs to try and replace him. They signed Juston Burris, but he never played a game before he was cut. They’ve tried out other veterans like Will Blackmon, but that never materialized into anything. Now they’ve decided to bring in another veteran defensive back for a workout, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
D.J. Swearinger has bounced around quite a few teams since he was second-round draft pick by the Houston Texans back in 2013. He’s played for the Texans, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Washington Redskins and most recently the Arizona Cardinals. He played every snap through four weeks of this season with Arizona, but they released him.
Swearinger has started 70 games over his career and has been quite productive. He’s caught at least three interceptions each season over the last three years. The Raiders aren’t great at creating turnovers, so adding a player like Swearinger could help in that regard. He’s not going to solve all of their issues, but it helps to add depth.
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Raiders Defense Still Struggling
The Raiders defense may have made a big play to win the game versus the Detroit Lions, but that doesn’t hide the fact that Matthew Stafford threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns. Oakland is consistently getting carved up by the NFL’s top quarterbacks and they don’t seem to be getting much better. One thing that is promising is that rookie defensive end Clelin Ferrell made some big plays, including a quarterback pressure on Stafford on the Lions’ last play of the game.
The unit is young and it’s missing one it’s most exciting players with Johnathan Abram injured. The Raiders are now 4-4 and are going to need the offense to carry them the rest of the way. If the defense can make clutch stops like they did against the Lions, then this team could have a real shot at the playoffs.
Raiders Rookies Contributing Big-Time
Even if Clelin Ferrell can’t live up to his status as a fourth-overall pick, it’s looking like general manager Mike Mayock nailed his first draft. Josh Jacobs would win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award if the season ended today. Maxx Crosby looks like the steal of the draft. People are already pegging him as a future pro bowler, despite the fact that he keeps racking up penalties and fines.
Trayvon Mullen has also been solid at cornerback. The Raiders’ defensive backfield has been really bad this season, but most of the big plays are coming on Daryl Worley’s side. He’s far from perfect just yet, but he could turn into a shutdown cornerback after a couple of years. Tight end Foster Moreau has also been a big surprise. Darren Waller may get all the fanfare, but that can’t discount how well Moreau has been playing. In fact, he’s the third-highest rated rookie in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
Not bad for a backup tight end who was drafted in the fourth round.