The Oakland Raiders have signed veteran defensive back Charles Woodson, the player they originally drafted in 1998. The move concludes a complete overhaul of the Raiders' secondary.
Woodson returns to Oakland, after spending seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He has signed a one-year deal with the Silver and Black, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.
Woodson won a Super Bowl during his time with the Packers and became one of the best hybrid defenders in football. Capable of lining up as an outside or slot cornerback, Woodson has also seen time at free safety and even linebacker.
He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, as a vital component of Dom Capers' zone-blitz schemes in Green Bay. Woodson's performances clearly impressed current Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who worked for the Packers until 2012.
Oakland head coach Dennis Allen runs a multiple-front defense and should find plenty of ways to free Woodson to attack offenses. Woodson is a dangerous blitzer and his presence will increase the versatility of Oakland's pressure packages.
That is good news for a team that lacks a standout pass-rusher. Just as important, the 36-year-old lends credibility to a new-look secondary.
Allen and McKenzie have already recruited cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins this offseason. They also used their first-round pick to select another cornerback, D.J. Hayden.
With those options on the outside, Woodson should occupy the nickel corner role. He is an outstanding slot defender.
His blitzing and tackling skills are invaluable closer to the line. The ageing star could also see some time at safety.
Tyvon Branch is the only holdover from last season's defensive backfield. He has been joined by former Cleveland Browns starter Usama Young.
The pair are more traditional box safeties. Woodson could occupy a role at free safety, as the quarterback of the secondary.
He delivered some stellar performances from this position for the Packers last season. Woodson helped improve a pass defense that was last in the league the season before, to 11th in 2012.
The Raiders were ranked 20th against the pass last season, after yielding 235.9 yards per game. Allen knows that with Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers in the AFC West, his defense has to do better this season.
At 36, Woodson may only give the Raiders one or two years before he calls time on a glorious career. However, his presence and skills will still prove crucial to a franchise working hard to remake its image and get back to relevance in the NFL.