With just days to go before the Raiders kick off their 2012 season, the revolving door to the roster keeps spinning.
With a concern the secondary still isn’t as strong as it should be, the Raiders released second-year cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke Monday and signed veteran cornerback Joselio Hanson, who had been released by the Philadelphia Eagles Friday.
With the addition of Hanson, it means the Raiders now have 23 players who weren’t on the roster in 2011, when Oakland stumbled down the stretch to finish 8-8 and miss out on the playoffs yet again.
As the Raiders begin practice Tuesday to face the Chargers on “Monday Night Football,” the team will show San Diego a revamped secondary that includes new starting corners Ronald Bartell and Shawntae Spencer and a nickel corner in Hanson, 31, who, says Bill Williamson of ESPN, “is a farily respected nickel cornerback” who will give the Raiders another experienced defensive back.
Williamson, who covers the AFC West for ESPN.com, says the release of Van Dyke is yet another signal that the Al Davis era is over in Oakland. It was a surprise the team released Van Dyke, who had been a third-round pick in 2011, Williamson says.
“Van Dyke was a classic Davis draft pick,” Williamson wrote. “He was the fastest runner at the (NFL) Combine in 2011 and the Raiders used a high pick on him because of his speed, despite the fact that he wasn’t overly productive in college (at Miami). Van Dyke struggled last year. He came back and had a nice training camp this season, but he wasn’t overly impressive in preseason games.”
As Williamson notes, “This decision has to show the rest of the roster that few players are safe.”
Under the new regime of General Manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen, production on the field is going to be the No. 1 priority for roster decisions.
Obviously, with what they saw in preseason games and training camp, the Raiders feel better about starting the season with the veteran Hanson in the secondary than Van Dyke.
Hanson, who started his career with the 49ers in 2004, played six seasons in Philadelphia, from 2006-2011, with four interceptions. The 5-foot-9, 185-pounder from Texas Tech played in 104 games for the Eagles, starting 19.
Hanson is the third free-agent corner signed by Oakland in the last week, following the acquisition of Coye Francis and Phillip Adams.
Of the six cornerbacks on the roster entering this season, none was with Oakland in 2011. Last year’s fourth-round pick, cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, was cut last week but re-signed to the practice squad.