With NFL Training Camp starting up in about a month, teams are starting to put the final pieces to their teams together. A couple weeks back, both the 49ers and Raiders added some veteran help to their respective defense's.
After receiving news that Walt Harris, their starting cornerback for the last three years, would likely miss the season, the 49ers went out and grabbed veteran cover man, Dre' Bly. Now, Bly may not put up quite the numbers for the Niners that Harris did over the last 3 seasons ( 15 ints and 174 total tackles) but he should be pretty darn close. In his last 2 seasons in Denver, Bly has 7 picks along with 113 tackles and 22 pass deflections. Both guys have an abundance of experience, with Bly actually 3 years younger than Harris. Lining up opposite of Bly will be Nate Clements, who's entering his 3rd season in the City by the Bay, giving the Niners a pair of very good cover guys. Shawtae Spencer is supposedly healthy as well and ready to contribute after missing the last year and a half with injury. The team also has up and coming Tarell Brown who could be starting for a lot of teams. If Harris does indeed return towards the end of the season, and can contribute anything, the Niners will have their strongest group of CB's they've had in a long time.
On the other side of the bay, the Raiders added some pass rush to their defense recently by adding veteran Greg Ellis. The 34 year-old Ellis has had a couple of big years in Dallas, recording 20.5 sacks over the last two campaigns there. Ellis is definitely on the downswing of his career, but it looks to me like he's got at least 2 more successful seasons in him, maybe more if he's used right. He's a much needed add to the Raiders, who's leader in sacks in 2008 was Kalimba Edwards with 5. Ellis would have even made a lot of sense for the Niners. They have an up and coming pass-rusher in Parrys Harrilson, who had 8 sacks from the OLB position in 2008 and Ellis would have been a nice mentor for him, as well as an excellent option on passing downs for the Niners in their 3-4. Ellis will likely spell Jay Richardson on passing downs for the Raiders in '09, as he's not quite an every down player any longer.