Raiders

Raiders: How Does the Jeff Heath Signing Affect Safety Position?

The Las Vegas Raiders invested heavily in their defense this past free agency period. Among those signings was safety Jeff Heath. What should fans expect from him? Also, should the Raiders still look at this position in the draft?

General manager Mike Mayock brought in some big guns to help shore up the defensive side of the ball. In particular, it seems the front seven got the bulk of the improvements. Yet, the secondary got themselves one heck of a tackler in Heath. Pro Football Focus highlighted this via their Twitter recently.

According to PFF, Heath was one of the most efficient safeties last year when it came to tackling. And that’s certainly good news even though the Raiders have quite the hard hitter in Johnathan Abram, Heath also brings consistency to the position. Also, he did have a 68.0 rating with PFF and totaled 47 solo tackles. All things said, I’d expect Heath to see action mostly on special teams.

By The Numbers…

Damarious Randall and Abram should be the starting safeties in 2020 for the Raiders unless Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden decide to take a safety in the first round, which would mean they’d be looking to start a rookie. As far as Heath is concerned, he himself makes a decent case for defensive snaps.

Related: Raiders DE Clelin Ferrell latest to join relief effort

In the last two years, Heath has started 29 games and had only one interception to his name. However, he had 148 total tackles with the Cowboys. Solid numbers but what about his coverage skills? As far as touchdowns, Heath gave up three of them in the past two years. Last season alone, he was targeted 52 times, giving up a completion percentage of 63.5% and a QB rating of 94.2 in those pass attempts.

Obviously pass coverage might not be Heath’s strongest suit but he’ll definitely be of use in the Raiders defense, plus he was brought in on 22 blitzes last year, something to keep an eye on in 2020.

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