The Oakland Raiders showed strong improvement under first year head coach Jack Del Rio during the 2015 season and are looking to build off of last season. The Raiders have multiple holes they are looking to fill this offseason, and they have needs at cornerback, safety, offensive line and inside linebacker, according to NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zierlein.
The Raiders will look to fill a bunch of holes on their roster through free agency as they have the second highest salary cap space in the NFL, but they will also look to target some key players that they believe can help them in the 2016 NFL Draft. One player that the Raiders are interested in is Boise State safety Darian Thompson, and the team does not plan on letting him get past them in the second round of the draft, according to Tony Pauline of Walter Football.
The Boise State senior safety is listed at 6-foot-1, 215 pounds and is a physical presence at the backend of a defense. Thompson recorded five interceptions, 8.5 tackles for a loss, a sack, and two forced fumbles his senior season with the Broncos. Thompson has drawn comparisons with Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett but still needs work in both man and zone coverage.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has Thompson as the third best safety in this year's draft class, and the talented Broncos safety is expected to garner plenty of interest in the lead up to the 2016 NFL Draft. The Raiders have a big hole to fill at the backend of their defense this season, as 18-year NFL veteran safety Charles Woodson announced his retirement.
Thompson clearly won't be able to fill those shoes in his first season in the league if the Raiders select him in the second round, as replacing Woodson is an almost impossible job given the caliber of player he was. Instead, the Raiders would be looking for a strong young talent in Thompson that they likely hope they can develop into a top-tier safety in this league with time.