The Raiders finished sweeping out the cornerback position Monday when they signed unrestricted free agent Joselio Hanson and waived 2011 third-round draft pick DeMarcus Van Dyke.
Oakland has six cornerbacks on its 53-man roster and none of them were with the organization last season. The starters are Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer, and also on the roster are Pat Lee, and recent waiver claims Phillip Adams and Coye Francois.
Chimdi Chekwa, like Van Dyke a 2010 draft choice (a fourth-rounder), was waived at the final cutdown and re-signed to the practice squad. That option wasn’t available for Van Dyke, who had an accrued season in the NFL.
“We just felt it was a good thing to get another veteran guy to what amounts to a young room and so we thought that was something that helped us, upgraded our team and made us better,” coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s smart, we spent some time with him already talking over the defensive scheme and things we would ask him to do and he seemed to grasp it pretty quickly. I’d anticipate he would have a pretty quick learning curve.”
Hanson said he was shocked to have been cut by the Philadelphia Eagles since he was the starting nickel back all the way through the fourth preseason game.
He was pleased, however to be joining Oakland.
“I’m happy. I’m back in California,” Hanson said. “I grew up in L.A. a Raiders fan, so this is a dream come true for me.”
Hanson said he is already deep in the playbook and he hopes to be ready for the regular-season opener on Sept. 10, against the San Diego Chargers.
The signing gives the Raiders more flexibility in that Bartell and Spencer can remain outside and the defense has an option other than just Michael Huff as the slot corner. Hanson played the slot extensively in Philadelphia.
“I have so much experience in the slot it’s like second nature to me now,” Hanson said. “I feel like, you have to be real smart in the slot and you have to know formations. I use my quickness to my advantage in the slot. Have to be tough. Have to fill the run. Almost kind of like a linebacker, a slash linebacker DB.”