Michael Huff: Believe It or Not, He May Have Some Value to the Oakland Raiders

Michael Huff has not quite lived up to the expectations of a seventh overall pick from the 2006 draft. He has played his five year career at free safety and has not been impressive. He has had his moments and made some good plays, but he isn't cutting it at the free safety position.

Huff has made just seven career interceptions through his five year career, most of the time as a starter. He was replaced late in the 2008 season by Hiram Eugene who was a brief fix at the position, but the job was Huff's again in 2009. 

Huff has shown signs of progress, especially last season as a pass rusher on safety blitzes. He made four sacks and forced three fumbles, one of which was the second coming of the "Holy Roller" when he knocked the ball out of Phillip Rivers' hand and the fumble was returned for a touchdown by Tyvon Branch, which gave the Raiders the win.

Speaking of Tyvon Branch, his strong play at the strong safety position (100+ tackles in back to back seasons) could be a reason Huff is expendable. The Raiders also have the second round pick of 2009 in Mike Mitchell as an option to move up to starter if Huff leaves.

One option is to move Branch to free safety and promote Mitchell to the starter at strong safety. Mitchell was a heavily criticized draft pick, but in the 2010 season he made some good plays as a nickel package linebacker. If the Raiders don't want to mess with his performance in that role, they could also move Stevie Brown (seventh round pick in 2010) to a starting safety spot with Tyvon Branch.

It could be easy for the Raiders to lose Huff simply because they have higher priorities (Richard Seymour, Nnamdi Asomugha, Robert Gallery, Zach Miller...) to re-sign. But if the Raiders end up losing Asomugha and fellow starter Stanford Routt they will be running on empty at cornerback.

At Texas in college, Huff played cornerback and was good at it. His size and speed make him a good fit...

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