The Las Vegas Raiders have plenty of draft capital entering the 2020 NFL Draft, and TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney should be on their radar.
The Las Vegas Raiders have a number of needs that should be addressed in the upcoming offseason. Their top three needs are wide receiver, in the secondary, and at linebacker. General manager Mike Mayock will more than likely address the wide receiver position with the 12th overall pick, considering the talent at the top of this draft.
With the Raiders second first round pick, I think Mayock and Jon Gruden should address the secondary problem. Johnathan Abram will bring the physical presence the Raiders have lacked in the secondary in recent years, and LaMarcus Joyner brings experience and versatility to the defensive backfield. Even though he had a down year, I think his versatility is too valuable to give up on, and the team plans to move him back to safety in 2020.
Then the Raiders have Erik Harris as a solid third safety/depth player. In free agency, two players that the Raiders could bring back are Daryl Worley and Karl Joseph, as both players played key roles in the Raiders secondary last season. In my opinion, Mayock should bring back Worley over Joseph because of his ability to play both safety and corner positions if only one is brought back.
Worley was successful against tight ends in his limited action as a safety, which is an area Joseph struggled in. Worley just needs to work on his ability in two-high safety looks.
The 2020 NFL draft has great secondary talent and the Raiders could find their number one cornerback they’ve been looking for. That prospect is Jeff Gladney, who is widely regarded as a first round talent in this draft class.
To me, he’s the second-best cornerback prospect in this draft, only behind Jeffrey Okudah from Ohio State. I’ve been watching his tape for weeks and came back amazed that he isn’t being talked about more. He played in the Big 12 on a TCU defense that was one of the best in the country.
Gladney played against receivers like CeeDee Lamb, Hollywood Brown, Collin Johnson, and many more extremely talented receivers over the past few years. Not only did he hold up against these receivers, he excelled.
He is an athletic marvel with some of the smoothest footwork you’d see in a corner prospect. One of the main reasons NFL Draft analysts don’t talk about him more is because of the insane talent in this upcoming draft. However, after Gladney blows up the NFL combine in Indy this month, he will be rising up draft boards.
Gladney is an experienced and battle tested cornerback that would bring some swagger back to the Raiders. According to Pro Football Focus, in 2018 he recorded a 90.2 overall grade with a passer rating allowed of an incredibly low 45.6. He also recorded 13 pass breakups in 2018, as well as 14 this past season.
Do yourself a favor and throw on his Iowa State tape and watch him dominate Hakeem Butler, a 6-foot -5 freak of nature. Gladney has length and height, however, he does have a thin frame. Once he’s put through a NFL strength and conditioning program, he’ll be able to bulk up.
One of my favorite traits about Gladney, however, is his willingness to tackle. Week in and week out, you’ll see him step up and wrap up with hesitation. In Paul Guenther’s defense, he wants his cornerbacks to be willing and able to step up and make a tackle. He loves aggressive cornerbacks and that’s one of the main reasons I have him above a guy like CJ Henderson from Florida.
Gruden and Mayock are known around the NFL as extremely passionate and some of the most hardworking football heads around. So I guarantee they’ll do their homework on Gladney.
Going into the 2020 season with Gladney and Trayvon Mullen on the outside, I think this secondary takes a huge step forward. They would prove to be a formidable duo and both could lock down receivers on a weekly basis.