The Las Vegas Raiders are going to be in the market for cornerbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft, and we take a look at Alabama star Trevon Diggs.
As we come upon the final week before the 2020 NFL Draft, the outlook on the Las Vegas Raiders needs and where they should go with any of their five picks in the top-100 seem to be ever changing. One position of need that has not changed yet is the cornerback position. Though many thought Mike Mayock and the Raiders would reel in one of the top cornerback prospects in free agency, it has been one of the few positions on defense they haven't addressed heading into this years draft.
As it stands Trayvon Mullen, Isaiah Johnson, Nevin Lawson, Keisean Nixon, and Nick Nelson are the only true cornerbacks on the raiders roster. We saw great improvement from Mullen over the second half of the season, with flashes of lock-down CB1 ability. The talent behind him, while showing at times to be good depth players, drops off quite a bit and the Raiders really need another top tier talent to pair opposite of Mullen.
The coaching staff continuously raved about how much they like Nixon and Johnson's potential, but seeing the type of pressure injuries at safety can put on a cornerback unit, its clear they need way more then what they currently sit with.
With many talented options poised to go in the second half of the 1st round, one of the top players is Alabama CB Trevon Diggs. At 6-1 210 lbs, Diggs is a big bodied cornerback that has the size and speed to match up anyone in the NFL.
As the top outside guy at Alabama, Trevon was asked to guard many of the countries top wide receivers. Two of the top-3 in this years draft class he had to face everyday in his own teammates Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. Lets take a look at this talented young cornerbacks resume and why he would be a great fit in the silver and black.
Resume and Accolades
As a true freshman, Trevon played wide receiver, cornerback, and was a return specialist for the Crimson Tide. Going into his sophomore season he transitioned into strictly playing cornerback. During his tenure at Alabama, Diggs amassed 68 TOT tackles, 4 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 TOT defensive touchdowns.
Both touchdowns came in 2019 during his senior season, one as an interception return and one as a fumble recovery return.
In 2018, Trevon helped lead his team to not only an SEC Championship title, but a College Football Playoff National Championship as well. In 2019 his ability on the field earned him First Team All-SEC honors and being regarded as one of the top 5 cornerbacks coming into this years NFL Draft.
It's not surprising as to what he can do athletically, with what we've been able to see older brother and current Buffalo Bills WR Steffon Diggs do during his 5 seasons in the league.
According to Pro Football Focus Diggs was only targeted 52 times his senior year, despite being asked to guard opposing teams top receiver each week. His worst game came at the hands of consensus No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers. In that game he gave up 9 receptions on 13 targets, for 133 yards and 1 touchdown.
How he fared the rest of the season tells the tail of just how effective and lock down he was overall. In all of his remaining games combined he totaled 13 receptions on 39 targets, giving up 176 yards and no touchdowns.
Another stand out stat he had during his senior year was his effectiveness in single coverage. Single coverage skills are highly regarded as the most translatable to the NFL quite simply because it tracks how well you do man to man with no help. according to Pro Football Focus Trevon Diggs ranked 2nd among eligible cornerbacks with at 90.9 overall grade. He only allowed 12 receptions on 40 targets, for a 30% completion percentage.
Diggs was able to use his size to get physical at the line of scrimmage, and his speed to stay with opposing receivers. He was very effective in not let them gain separation, as he saw nearly all his targeted passes come in some form of single coverage.
Fit With Las Vegas Raiders
As previously mentioned, the Raiders secondary as it pertains to the cornerback position is quite thin. Though they have young talent, everyone outside of Trayvon Mullen are still in need of progression if they are going to heavily contribute to this defense facing the many weapons that exist in the AFC West.
In the one year that Mike Mayock has been in control, he's taken two different cornerbacks who have some very similar attributes. It seems as though he has a type, and that type tends to be longer, big bodied, physical corners. second round draft pick Trayvon Mullen came in at 6-1 200 lbs with 31" arms and fourth round draft pick Isaiah Johnson is 6-2 210 lbs with 33" arms.
As mentioned earlier Trevon Diggs has similar measurements to Johnson, coming in at 6-1 210 lbs with 32 3/4" arms.
Trevon is projected as someone who could need a scheme centric defense to really hit the ceiling of his true potential, thriving mainly in a coverage with a single high safety. Looking deeper into the Raiders defense last year, he could very well do just that from day 1. The Raiders ran a cover-1 and cover-3 defense more then any other package last year, specially against each of their division rivals.
Cover-1 is essentially man on the outside with a single high safety reading the qb and protecting the middle of the field. Cover-3 is basically the zone version with the corners and safety having deep third responsibility.
When it comes down to it, Trevon Diggs would be the perfect player to insert into this defense and make an immediate impact from day 1. He has all the size and physical tools that Mayock seems to like in his corners, and thrives in the type of defense that Paul Gunther is trying to be effective with. Don't be surprised if Diggs is high on their big board with the 19th overall pick, or if they are able to trade back a few spots.