The Oakland Raiders finally added some depth to the cornerback position by signing two-time pro bowler Lito Sheppard.
Sheppard, a 10 year veteran out of Florida, not a quick fix for the Raiders after Nnamdi Asomugha's departure to the Eagles earlier this off season. However, he will be able to add some definite leadership to the secondary and provide so depth when required. But don't expect Sheppard to jump off the bench into a starting role for all 16 games.
Originally drafted by the Eagles in 2002, 26th overall, Sheppard played for three teams. He has 19 career interceptions and 263 tackles in 117 games playing corner. He has also played for the Jets and Vikings. He played in 13 games for the Vikings last season. However, he is past his prime his last great season came in 2006 playing for the Eagles he had six interceptions and that time he was fear by quarterbacks in the league.
Today he is is a solid back up corner and will do a fine job when called upon when needed.
Raiders still have a hole's to fix on defense before the season opener at Denver on Sept. 12. With the freak injury to second year linebacker Travis Goethel in the last game againts the 49ers, the Raiders are paper thin at the position. Goethel, who many though would take the weak side spot from Quinten Groves, tore ligaments in his knee during Mondays practice in what was described as a freak accident.
Goethel, suffered a back injury last season which shortened what was a very progressive rookie season out of Arizona State. According to some reports, he could done for the season.
Look for the Raiders to wait for next series of cuts to fill the void at linebacker. With former Raiders linebacker Kurt Morrison signing a one-year contract with the Bills the lost out on one of their veteran targets , Lofa Tatupu remains to be a name out there. But depending on his asking price, the Raiders could pass on seven year man out of USC.
The starting linebackers as of now are Cameron Wimbley, Rolando McClain and Groves. McClain has had his helmet taken by head coach Hue Jackson twice in practice this week. We don't know if McClain is "nicked up", or just needed a break. But it could be a big concern for the Raiders and could speed up the process of bringing in another linebacker.
We will know more about McClain when the Raiders host the New Orleans Saints, Sunday night in week three of the NFL Pre-Season. The starters are expected to play into the third quarter on Sunday.