When the Raiders poached Derek Ansley away from the Alabama coaching staff, it was viewed as a great hire.
Ansley has come up from the vaunted Nick Saban coaching tree and helped develop some high-level defensive back prospects. Being a former college DB himself, Ansley joined the Alabama staff initially with experience as a coordinator. However, what maybe wasn’t clear before, but certainly is now, is that he is the most important position coach. After a secondary unit that took 13 weeks to produce an interception (the first of the year was snagged by a linebacker), Ansley is expected to improve the group significantly.
In addition to improving eye-discipline, the Raiders staff hopes that Ansley can help organize the entire backend of the defense. He is likely going to be tasked with helping Obi Melifonwu along in his development. Obi is already off to a better start than the last camp in that he is already on the field. Draft mate Gareon Conley has not been as lucky, but both will be expected to contribute heavily. If Ansley can help find Obi a role among the DB’s and Conley can get healthy, the young coach can have a strong year one in the NFL.
If Ansley can prove himself an up-and-comer, he can lend further legitimacy to Jon Gruden’s return bid. Furthermore, as a team steeped in DB royalty, Ansley can certainly become a fan favorite if his unit is productive. More than anything, just getting his players to settle in on third and mid or long could give Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin the half-step they need to get home. Raider nation is certainly pulling for this hire to pay dividends and they won’t have to wait much longer to find out.