If it wasn’t for a seizure that stifled his 2012 campaign with the Denver Broncos, Tracy Porter might not be with the Oakland Raiders. Instead, he’s in silver and black and looking to lock down a starting job. It won’t be easy, though, even for a seasoned veteran like Porter.
A five-year veteran and former second-round pick, Porter spent his first four years in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints. During his time down in the Bayou, he amassed 194 total tackles, seven interceptions and 32 defended passes while starting in 39 of 43 appearances. His forced fumble and timely interception in the 2009 NFC Championship game solidified his standing as a starting-caliber cornerback.
His 2012 stint with the Broncos didn’t go so well, though. A strange seizure in August and the light-headedness and rapid heartbeat that followed forced him to fall out of favor in Denver. He played in only six games (four starts) and was generally ineffective, which made it an easy decision for the Broncos to let him walk via free agency this offseason.
Now with the Raiders, Porter should push for a starting gig during training camp. In order to win the battle, though, he’ll have to beat out fellow veteran Mike Jenkins, who Oakland also signed this offseason in attempt to upgrade their secondary. Underrated cornerback Phillip Adams could also be in the mix, but is a better bet to take over nickel corner duties.
Both veterans will be fighting for the right to start opposite rookie first-rounder D.J. Hayden. While the general consensus is that Jenkins has the leg up considering Porter’s poor showing in 2012, there’s a good chance that the former Bronco gets the final nod.
Only 26-years-old and a proven starter, Porter will get every opportunity to lock down the right cornerback spot. He also brings some versatility with his ability to slide down into the slot, which makes him all the more valuable for the Raiders. If he can prove that his 2012 woes are behind him, there’s no reason to believe Porter can’t be a difference-maker in the Oakland secondary.
Training camp will give us a better idea of where Porter sits on the Raiders cornerback depth chart. We’ll see who comes out on top when the regular season rolls around.