Oakland Raiders 2011 Offseason: New Direction for the Safety Position in Oakland

Much like our maligned quarterback position, the safety position (both free and strong) have been in flux for a very long time: no Pro Bowlers, and no consistency.

Take a look at our starters from the 2010 season. Both Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff had overwhelming confidence and support from both the coaching staff and fans during the 2010 offseason.

But at the end of the 2010 campaign, there is a need yet again for change in the Raiders' last line of defense.

Coming into the year many (including myself) thought that after an impressive '09 season, Branch was set up to have a breakout year, ending with a Pro Bowl selection. He led the team in tackles in '09, had great speed, was a willing tackler and was still young. There were even rumours that he was sought out by other teams in trades.

All that talk and hope went out the window almost instantly during the first game of the season, specifically on Chris Johnson's 76-yard touchdown run in Week 1.

But it wasn't one play for Tyvon, as 2010 was a season of missed tackles and over pursuit. In a season that should have been a launching pad, 2010 turned into a season of regression for Branch.

Instincts, especially at the safety position, are crucial for success. Despite great talent, Branch showed poor instincts all season. 

Which leads me to my next point, does Branch start next year? That leads to another question: Should a high second-round pick ride the bench?

Of course not, the money is too big and the value of that pick is too high. Enter M&M.

I'll save the white rapper jokes, and say Mike Mitchell will start in 2011.

Now look, I'm not one of those bandwagon-biased Mitchell fans. I don't think he is the next Jack Tatum or Ronnie Lott ready to smash opponents in the open field. I'm looking at this from a business standpoint. You don't draf...

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