Although the Las Vegas Raiders secondary has struggled over the past few years, that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, the Raiders have had some of the best cornerbacks in NFL history.
This list was hard to make because I became a Raiders fan in 1997. I’ve watched many of their old games, and it’s clear they’ve had a lot of good defensive backs. Here’s a blast from the past as we take a look at the Mount Rushmore of cornerbacks for the Las Vegas Raiders.
A Man’s Top Defensive Backs Ranking
4. Charles Woodson
The very first time I saw Woodson was at my very first Raiders game ever. Instantly, I became a fan and my dad bought me his jersey after the game. The former Heisman Trophy winner got off to a fast start back in 1998. Suddenly, he became a household name on his way to three straight Pro Bowl selections. Although he left for Green Bay and won a Super Bowl there, Woodson never forgot his first team. Currently, he represents the Silver and Black on TV and even ended his career in Oakland. Once it was all said and done, Woodson ended his playing days with 65 career interceptions, 11 defensive touchdowns, and 18 fumble recoveries.
3. Willie Brown
Sweet Willie Brown came joined the Raiders via a trade. He made an immediate impact for them and still did up until the 2019 NFL draft. He was named team captain for most of his years with the team. Moreover, he was a prominent factor back in the team’s glory days. When Brown retired, he stayed with the team as a defensive backs coach. He helped the Raiders win a couple of more rings in that role. Brown’s impact with the Silver and Black is unquestionable and is one of the organization’s GOATs. By the time Brown hung up his cleats, he had totaled 54 interceptions and two defensive touchdowns.
3. Lester Hayes
Lester Hayes was one of the most dominant defensive backs in the NFL. I recall getting in trouble as a kid when I said his molester moniker out loud! He was the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 1980 and was part of a menacing duo alongside Mike Haynes. He played bump and run better than most and was a pure lockdown corner. To this day, Hayes comes up in conversations about how his position was played. As a five-time Pro Bowler with the Raiders, Hayes amassed 39 interceptions and scored four defensive touchdowns.
1. Jack Tatum
In his time, Tatum was the most ferocious hitter in the NFL. Some of his hits would likely cost the Raiders plenty of yards in today’s NFL. However, “The Assassin” became a fan favorite in Oakland because of them. I would watch old tapes with my dad because of them just to see someone get smacked. Drafted in 1971 from Ohio State, Tatum like most of the Raiders backs in this article, got off to a great start. In his prime, he had the privilege to play with other great defensive backs such as George Atkinson and Willie Brown. They obviously brought out the best in each other. All in all, Tatum ended up with 30 interceptions for 636 yards in 120 games in Raiders uniform.
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