The Las Vegas Raiders added a quality veteran in cornerback Casey Hayward, who will be counted on to lead a young secondary in 2021.
Now that we have put a bow on the preseason for the 2021 Las Vegas Raiders, we will turn our attention to the team putting together their 53-man roster. One key area the team tried to target this offseason was the defensive backfield, where the team utilized multiple draft picks and added some veteran talent via free agency.
In the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Raiders traded up for Tre’Von Moehrig, who has looked as good, if not better than advertised this summer. The plan is to start him alongside Johnathan Abram, a third-year player who is looking to get back on track after a tough 2020 campaign after coming back from an injury that robbed him of nearly all his rookie season.
Also in the draft, Las Vegas added Nate Hobbs in the fifth round, and he has been outstanding, likely cementing his place as the starting slot cornerback for the Raiders. Hobbs will join Trayvon Mullen, a third-year player, and Casey Hayward as the likely starting cornerback trio, making Hayward the veteran of the bunch, and a perfect player to lead this group in 2021.
Raiders brought in a perfect veteran in Hayward
Not only is Hayward a veteran, and one who has had great success at the NFL level, but he is a perfect guy to bring in and be the leader of this group this fall. He has played for Gus Bradley and knows how he ticks, and with Bradley being an elite defensive backs coach, having Hayward on the field is like having another coach out there.
Hayward may not be the elite cornerback he used to be, but he is going to play a huge role in this secondary, one that has so many young players. Even the depth is young, as Amik Robertson was a 2020 draft pick, as well as Damon Arnette, who was a first-round selection of the team last season.
Defensive end Maxx Crosby was a steal for the then-Oakland Raiders in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he is flourishing on and off the field.
This is a secondary that is going to be under the microscope from Week 1 on, and they will get a huge test when they face Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens right out of the gate, before heading to Pittsburgh to take on Ben Roethlisberger. Las Vegas plays Miami at home after the Steelers game and then will try to contain Justin Herbert, so we will get some answers to how good this group could be early on.