NFL Draft: Should the Las Vegas Raiders double up at Cornerback?
The Las Vegas Raiders find themselves set to enter the NFL Draft without addressing the cornerback position in free agency. So should they double up at that position over the three-day draft?
The complexity of the Raiders roster contains pressing needs in the secondary, most importantly the cornerback position. Currently, their depth chart contains just one player, Nevin Lawson, who has a full season’s worth of experience playing along the perimeter as an outside cornerback. However, at this point in Lawson’s career, he’s more of a depth piece as the trajectory of his play has seen a downtick in production.
Nonetheless, adding help to stabilize the Raiders’ group of cornerbacks is something they must do, and adding two players at that position via the draft would be an ideal scenario.
With two picks in the first-round, No.12 and No.19 overall, the expectation is at least one of those selections will be allocated towards selecting a cornerback. In addition, the Raiders also possess three third-round picks, a fourth-round selection and a fifth-rounder to conclude their handful of picks.
Drafting another cornerback in the mid-rounds is something the Raiders staff may have to entertain based on the depth chart at that position. Outside of Lawson, the cornerback room contains Lamarcus Joyner (nickel), Trayvon Mullen, Isaiah Johnson and Keisean Nixon.
The Raiders did, in fact, find lightning in a bottle during last year’s draft when they traded back twice in the second round, adding additional picks and still got their guy when selecting Mullen. The former Clemson product showed immense promise as the 2019 season progressed but currently, he’s without a serviceable starter playing opposite of him.
Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah is the bonafide No.1 cornerback in this year’s draft but he’s projected to be long gone by the time the Raiders pick. Other options in the draft with first to second-round grades are Florida’s C.J Henderson, LSU’s Kristian Fulton, TCU’s Jeff Gladney, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, Clemson’s A.J. Terrell and Utah’s Jaylon Johnson.
The cornerback class doesn’t contain much talent at the beginning of the first-round but nonetheless, the list of prospects who are expected to go late first-round to late second-round is extraordinary deep.
For year’s the Raiders philosophy has been to add long-rangy corners and this year’s draft shows no indication why they’d do anything different when addressing that area.