The Raiders have brought back safety Jerome Boyd to once again compete for a spot in the safety rotation. The former linebacker out of the University of Oregon was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009. Despite having a solid career at Oregon, he wasn’t drafted because he was seen as being too small to play linebacker at the NFL level. The Raiders had other plans for him so as soon as the draft completed, they gave him a call and brought him in as a free agent to convert to safety.
Boyd took to the conversion almost immediately and was a standout in the ’09 camp and was signed to the practice squad to begin the season. In his very first preseason game, he led the team with six solo tackles. His linebacking skills make him an asset in run defense while his speed helps him in coverage. He was among the top three tacklers on the team every game of the preseason in 2009. With as much need as the safety position had, it appeared he was a shoe-in to make the roster. That didn’t happen but the Raiders liked him enough to keep him around and develop his talent.
He was called up and signed to the active roster for the final game of the 2009 season and remained part of the roster through the 2010 camp. In fact, the very next time he stepped on the field for the Raiders’ first preseason game of 2010, he intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown. He also continued his fine run defense with a couple of run stuffs at the line.
After that his playing time diminished in the 2010 preseason in an otherwise very crowded safety corps that consisted of starters Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff along with 2009 round two pick Mike Mitchell, longtime Raider Hiram Eugene, and another linebacker/safety in 2010 late seventh round selection Stevie Brown. And come the final cutdown, Boyd and Brown were the odd men out.
But with Huff not getting re-signed to a new contract like some of his free agent teammates, he could leave in free agency. Additionally Hiram Eugene’s spot on this roster gets more and more shaky each season. Boyd will add some depth and much needed competition and will have a good chance to make the squad as a reserve safety and special teams contributor.