The Oakland Raiders completed their offseason overhaul of the cornerback unit by signing recently released Joselio Hanson and cutting 2011 3rd-round pick DeMarcus Van Dyke.
Hanson had been released last week by Philadelphia after spending 6 seasons as the Eagles’ nickel cornerback, where he excelled playing in the slot.
“He’s been a guy that’s played a lot of years in the league in the slot and we just felt like it’s a good thing to get another vet guy in there with what truly amounts to a young room. And so we thought that was something that helped us and upgraded our team and made us better,” Coach Dennis Allen asserted.
The move to lose Van Dyke means all 6 cornerbacks on the Oakland roster are fairly new to the organization. Oakland released starters Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson before the start of free agency, let Lito Sheppard leave as a free agent, and released both cornerbacks taken in the 2011 draft. The team is transitioning from the bump-and-run style preferred by former owner Al Davis to Allen’s new defense that may feature more sector coverage.
The Raiders waived 4th-round pick Chimdi Chekwa before bringing him back to the practice squad, then cut ties with Van Dyke.
Free-agent acquisitions Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer are slated as the starters, with Hanson hoping to get time in nickel packages. Pat Lee, Phillip Adams and Coye Francies round out the cornerback group, with Adams and Francies being added in the past week. NFL spreads
“As things played out throughout OTAs, minicamp and in coaching camp, we felt like that was a position that we needed to try and upgrade and we felt like with the players that we brought in here that it helps us as a team to be better,” Allen said.
Hanson spent one season as an undrafted free agent with San Francisco before joining the Eagles in 2006. He has played 104 games with 19 starts and 4 interceptions. He played mostly in the slot for the Eagles and authorized 21 catches on 42 attempts for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Over the past 4 seasons, Hanson has allowed opponents to complete 54.5% of their passes for an average of 5.3 yards per attempt and a 76.5 passer rating against.
“It’s mostly his intelligence,” Allen declared. “He’s really smart. He’s got good quickness within and so he matches up with some of the smaller, quicker slot receivers. I just think he just understands route combinations and how things happen inside in the slot, and I think that’s the biggest learning adjustment that anybody that goes in and plays the nickel position.”
Allen claimed Hanson seemed to grasp the defense quickly in his meetings with the coaching staff and could be in a position to contribute in the opener next Monday against Chargers.
“I feel a bit like in the next couple of days I’ll get it down,” Hanson recounted. “I went over the whole playbook already, so it’s just now about all about studying and restating it to myself. It is the same defense, a 4-3 defense, it’s just different names, different plays, but when I get that down I’ll be ready to go.”