The Oakland Raiders are looking to fill the void left at cornerback with the injury to DJ Hayden. With Hayden missing training camp time with a stress fracture in his foot, more opportunities are available for other cornerbacks to step forward. Two players in particular have answered the call. Chimdi Chekwa and T.J. Carrie have impressed in training camp and earned praise from head coach Dennis Allen.
“Not just today, I think he’s had a good camp to this point,” Allen said of Chekwa. “He did some things in the spring that we were impressed with. He’s a guy that since I’ve gotten here he’s continued to get better and better every day. He’s very, very valuable to us on special teams, so if he continues to improve, I think Chimdi’s a guy that can help us this year.”
Chekwa is a former fourth-round pick of the Raiders who has been used as a utility man in the past. He has started two games for the Raiders as an emergency cornerback and has contributed as a rotational defensive back as well as on special teams.
Seventh-round pick T.J. Carrie also received praise from his head coach. He was thought of as a player whose best chance to make the team was as a return man. Now, he is making an impact at cornerback as well.
“We drafted him in the seventh round,” Allen said of Carrie. “We thought he had some talent. We thought he had some ability, but I think he’s more mature than maybe I would have known from a rookie DB coming in from Ohio. He’s got a better understanding of what we’re asking him to do and what the offense is trying to do to him. I think just instinctively, I’ve been very impressed with his knowledge of the game.”
The Raiders' cornerback position is the biggest question mark on defense. The team brought in veterans Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown to help this offseason, but will need contributions from others. If Carrie and Chekwa can continue to improve and impress, they have a chance to earn playing time and bolster the position further. They will see more reps with Hayden out so this is their time to leave a mark and they are making the most of it.
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