With Sean Smith Arrest, Raiders Could Have Secondary Problem

Matthew Jordan

Friday, August 18, 2017 12:47 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 12:47 PM UTC

The Oakland Raiders could have their best team in many years heading into 2017, but the secondary suddenly is a major concern after the arrest of cornerback Sean Smith.

On Thursday in Los Angeles, Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith was arrested, and he's facing felony assault charges. Prosecutors say Smith beat his sister's boyfriend and then stomped on the man's head in Pasadena (where Smith went to high school) on July 4. Smith is scheduled to be arraigned in Pasadena on Sept. 29. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison. Smith will plead not guilty. One report states that the boyfriend had put his hands on Smith’s sister and that’s perhaps why this happened.

Do you know when NFL teams fear most in the offseason? The stretch between the last OTA and minicamp as that’s when players tend to get in the most trouble blowing off steam before starting the seven-month grind of the season. That’s exactly when Smith had his altercation.

So what does this mean for Oakland’s defense? First off, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That said, the NFL has shown it will suspend guys no matter what their situation in the legal system – ask Ezekiel Elliott.

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The Raiders were 12-4 last year and made the playoffs for the first time since 2002 despite a defense that ranked 26th overall in yards allowed and 24th in passing yards. Smith, who signed a big free-agent deal before last season, played in 15 games and finished with 40 tackles, 11 passes defensed and two picks. Not a Pro Bowler, but a decent starter (after being benched briefly). Pro Football Focus ranked Smith as the NFL’s No. 16 corner in 2016.

During training camp this year, Smith had been seen occasionally lining up at hybrid linebacker in dime packages. This is to help cover tight ends – the Raiders play Chiefs Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce twice, for example. Oakland did draft Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley in the first round this year; he was a projected Top-10 pick who slipped to No. 24 because Conley had been accused of rape in Ohio. But a grand jury refused to indict him. However, Conley has spent all of training camp on PUP after suffering a shin injury in a June minicamp.

Smith missed three games of the 2015 season with Kansas City after he pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence, so that’s going to be factored in for any potential suspension length. The NFL tends to take its time on these things, however.

Oakland is receiving the most bets in Las Vegas of any team to win Super Bowl LII. They host the Rams in Week 2 of the preseason on Saturday with the Raiders at -2.5. Surely Smith won’t play.

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Sean Smith arrest ends Raiders league-best 3-year long streak without arrest https://t.co/rtDiOiFqXY pic.twitter.com/74rCvQZy4W

— Zesty Raiders News (@zesty_raiders) August 18, 2017

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