Injuries and roster moves have left the Oakland Raiders‘ secondary depleted. With both starting safeties getting season-ending injuries earlier in the year and the release of D.J. Swearinger, the team has decided to switch things up. Cornerback Daryl Worley has been one of the few bright spots on defense for the team and now it’s looking like he’s going to be replacing Swearinger at safety, according to Jon Gruden.
“Yeah, I mean we’ve moved everybody around quite a bit on this team this year, but LaMarcus [Joyner] is a valuable part of our team as the nickel, and I don’t want to break in a new nickel either,” said Gruden on Wednesday. “You know, rob Peter to pay Paul. Once you move your nickel, you’ve got to find a new nickel, and those guys don’t grow on trees either. We’ve lost two really good safeties, and you know in fairness to our team, we’re going to put Worley in there. We think Worley has some game-changing ability, and we think he can play corner and safety. I think he’s got a little Malcolm Jenkins in him. I think he’s some skill that we need to use more of. We need to see these young corners, to be honest with you, more of these two young corners and Nick Nelson included.”
Comparing Worley to Malcolm Jenkins is no small praise. The Philadelphia Eagles defensive back is a three-time pro bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion. He’s also known for his ability to play both cornerback and safety. The Raiders would be in good hands if Worley developed into that sort of player.
Daryl Worley Sounds off on the Switch
While it may seem like a significant move to switch your top cornerback to safety this late in the season, Worley doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal.
“I’m comfortable at any position in the secondary,” said Worley on Wednesday. ” My study from the beginning is to always to study all positions. Just knowing what the guys around you are doing makes your job that much easier, so being able to make that transition and move into different positions, I’ve been doing it all year. It’s nothing new.”
He sounds confident that the switch won’t be a problem for the struggling defense. With the playoffs pretty much out of reach, it’s important for the Raiders to see what they have in Trayvon Mullen, Isaiah Johnson and Nick Nelson heading into the offseason.
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Worley Has Been Solid in Coverage This Season
As disappointing as the Raider defense has been this season, it’s not because of Worley. According to Pro Football Focus, he has the fifth-best contested catch allowed rate in the NFL among cornerbacks.
Considering Worley is in a contract year, these stats are good to know. The Raiders should strongly consider locking him up long term. He probably won’t be too expensive and he’s only 24 years old. Mullen and Worley have both shown promise this season and could be the cornerback tandem of the future if they can continue to improve.