For all the talent the Las Vegas Raiders brought in during the 2019 NFL Draft, Trayvon Mullen is the most important heading into Year 2.
During the 2019 NFL Draft, general manager Mike Mayock had a tremendous couple of days, bolstering the Raiders roster on both sides of the ball. However, it was his only second round pick that will be the most important second-year player for the team as they head into their next era of football as the Las Vegas Raiders.
With the No. 40 overall selection in the draft, Mayock brought in his second Clemson Tigers defensive player, adding cornerback Trayvon Mullen. A national champion for the Tigers, Mullen was the Defensive MVP of Clemson’s victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide, and went into draft season as a potential first round selection.
In his first season with the Raiders, Mullen did not crack the starting lineup until Week 7, but after getting his feet wet, he became a legitimate shutdown cornerback. In addition, he proved just how tough a player he is, as he looked to suffer a devastating injury in Week 16 against the Los Angeles Chargers, only to return the next week to close out the season against the Denver Broncos.
Heading into the new league year, the Raiders have serious holes at the cornerback position behind Mullen, making him the most important second-year player on this roster. Behind him, the Raiders have young players like Isaiah Johnson and Keisean Nixon under contract, but must fill in the rest via free agency or the 2020 NFL Draft.
There are some solid draft targets the Raiders could go after, as they hold five of the first 91 selections in the draft, and free agency has some big names. Those player, notably Logan Ryan, James Bradberry, Bradley Roby, and Chris Harris could all come in and provide leadership, and productivity across from Mullen.
Of course, there is also Daryl Worley, who is still very young, and has been in Paul Guenther’s system the last two seasons. Whichever way the Raiders go, the position group is a major weakness heading into the NFL Combine, and while his roster spot is set, Mullen is not taking it easy heading into Year 2.
Mullen has already worked out with Chad Johnson this offseason, and the hope is he can step up in 2020 and become the CB1 this franchise needs. The cornerbacks for the Raiders as a whole have been the worst in football for many years in a row now, so the hope is the front office makes this a priority this offseason.
The bottom line is, the cornerback position has been a real issue for the Raiders since Nnamdi Asomugha left for Philadelphia, and Mullen is the best prospect the team has had in a long time. If makes the necessary jump in 2020, he immediately becomes the CB1 this team has been lacking, and the organization can start building around him.