Oakland Raiders Secondary: I Want Mike Mitchell On The Damn Field

Alex ShamsCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2010

The Oakland Raiders had the seventh—ranked pass defense last season. Though they are skilled for sure, much of this can be attributed to teams running down their throats.

In the recent weeks there has been talk (from me as well) of Michael Huff moving to cornerback. When the analysis is all done, I favor it for one reason.

I want Mike Mitchell on the damn field.

Mitchell was selected in the second round last offseason, a shock to many, even though his stock was soaring on draft weekend. In OTAs, he looked lost in coverage, and then training camp arrived only to find him still lost in coverage.

This led to Mitchell slotted as the backup strong safety behind Tyvon Branch and the third—string free safety behind Michael Huff and Hiram Eugene.

As the season got underway, Mitchell was a special teams gunner, making his mark by laying out a return man or two.

Towards the last half of the season, Mitchell's play seemed to inprove. He began laying in what looks to be a Wolverine package; where he had free will to either blitz off the weak side or drop back into three-deep coverage. He recorded 12 tackles and a sack in this scheme.

Sure, safety is an extremely important position. It's your your last line of defense against the run and the pass.

Against Cincinnati , Pittsburgh, and even Dallas, Mitchell was dropping back more than mad rushing. Funny thing is, he looked very good; no blown coverage. In fact, most Raider fans didn't notice he was on the field, which is good in the sense that he played shut-down coverage.

Tyvon Branch is a lock at SS, and a Pro Bowl is coming his way.

Michael Huff may switch to CB, and if he underachieves, Mitchell will be right there to oust Eugene for the spot.

Mitchell grew into the Raiders' coverage scheme by the end of last year, and unlike Huff, he scares people. He would not only be a great last line of defense, but his presence alone is a forced fumble or knockout waiting to happen.

Isn't that what playing Raider safety is all about?

To reiterate in a short version: Mitchell on the field gives the Raiders their best seven—a nd a big play waiting to happen.

I want Mike Mitchell on the damn field.