The Las Vegas Raiders have been adding players on both sides of the ball this offseason, but entering the Draft, is cornerback their biggest need?
Heading into the 2020 NFL offseason, the needs on the Las Vegas Raiders roster were pretty glaring. On offense, they needed a true WR1, and on defense, they needed additions on all three levels. As we inch closer to April 23, one need has emerged bigger than all others.
Sure, a true WR1 is extremely important to the Raiders, and luckily for the team, this is a draft class loaded with talent at the position group. In fact, many believe that six wide receivers could be selected in the first round, and holding two first round picks, the Raiders are in great shape to get one.
When it comes to the roster after the first few weeks of free agency, the biggest need entering the draft is the cornerback position. The Raiders have added two quality players to the linebacker group, bolstered the defensive line, and have even added a quality wideout in Nelson Agholor, who gives the team much needed depth.
However, despite bringing in Eli Apple, the cornerback spot is seriously lacking depth, and talent, especially if the team decides to part ways with free agent Daryl Worley. Second-year corner Trayvon Mullen is a special talent, and played very well down the stretch in 2019, but outside of him and Apple, questions surround this group.
Nevin Lawson was brought back, but he has his limitations, and youngster Isaiah Johnson and Keisean Nixon are still question marks as well. Johnson was a fourth-round pick of the Raiders in 2019, and is a very talented player, but the Raiders cannot expect him to come in and be a starter right away.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, there are only a handful of elite cornerback options in the first round, and one of them is going to be gone in the first five picks in Ohio State's Jeffrey Okudah. From there, Florida's C.J. Henderson, TCU's Jeff Gladney, Alabama's Trevon Diggs, and LSU's Kristian Fulton have gotten first round buzz, as has A.J. Terrell from Clemson.
Terrell and Mullen were teammates together for the Tigers, and have an obvious connection there. If Okudah goes in the first ten or so picks, the Raiders may be forced to use pick No. 12 on the cornerback spot, waiting until No. 19 to get a wide receiver.
The good news there is that a Henry Ruggs III or Tee Higgins could still be on the board at No. 19, giving the Raiders more flexibility to make the pick, or even trade back. WR1 is a huge need for the team, but if they miss on Okudah or Henderson, the drop off in terms of talent may cause the Raiders to reach at No. 19.
The good thing is the Raiders have two first round draft picks in 2020, as well as five of the first 91 selections overall. That means they can get an impact player at the cornerback spot this April, but the big question is whether they will get one with the No. 12 pick, or wait until No. 19.