2015 Position Review: Safeties

Posted Feb 11, 2016

As the NFL offseason officially gets underway, takes a look back at the current Raiders roster and breaks down each position.

More Position Reviews: Quarterbacks

Overview: Future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson paced the group in 2015, and he did so in a way you would expect from a man destined to end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

In his 18th NFL season, Woodson led the Silver and Black with five interceptions, his most since 2011, and anchored a unit that at times had to shuffle personnel throughout the season.

In the offseason, the team signed veteran safety Nate Allen to complement Woodson on the back end of the Raiders’ defense, but due to injury, Allen only played in five games for the Raiders in 2015.

His absence forced myriad players to step up and fill the void, including cornerback TJ Carrie.

In addition to Carrie, Larry Asante and Taylor Mays both enjoyed an extended run at strong safety in Allen’s stead. 

By The Numbers: Woodson’s five interceptions ranked tied for sixth in the NFL this year, and he intercepted, at least, five passes in a season six times in his career. Woodson was also the team’s second-leading tackler this year, finishing with 96 tackles.

Going Forward: This is arguably the most interesting position group for the Silver and Black headed into 2016 and beyond, particularly now with the release of Nate Allen.

Yes, Allen only played in five games last season in Oakland, but as it stands now, he’s the only true safety under contract for the Silver and Black.

And even with Allen now back on the roster, the perceived lack of depth at the position also makes the future of TJ Carrie uncertain.

Carrie, who was drafted as a cornerback, was one of the players who stepped up and played safety while Allen was on the shelf, and actually played decently well during his time on the back end.

However, even if, keyword if, Carrie were to move to safety fulltime in 2016 – something that Head Coach Jack Del Rio has not been willing to address, a complete overhaul of the position group appears to be in order in the coming months.

Standout Performer: The one and only, Charles Woodson.

Woodson ended his 18-year career in style in 2015.

Not only did he lead the team with five interceptions, he also earned his ninth Pro Bowl berth, earned AFC Defensive Player of the Month Honors for October, and was actually in the conversation of Defensive Player of the Year for a stretch.

The former Michigan Wolverine will be missed not only on, but off the field as well, and finding a replacement for him and his production will be near the top of General Manager Reggie McKenzie’s offseason to-do list.