2-Round 2023 NFL Raiders Mock Draft: Building around Maxx Crosby
Cornerback is another position of need for the Raiders. Nate Hobbs has turned into a reliable starter, giving defensive coordinator Patrick Graham a versatile defender who’s capable of guarding the slot or being lined up outside.
While Rock Ya-Sin has delivered, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent next offseason, leaving his future up in the air. Outside of those two, there’s not much to get excited about. Drafting Christian Gonzalez by way of Oregon gives you an instant starter capable of handling the outside.
According to Pro Football Focus, Gonzalez has been graded at 81.4 in the coverage department. Much like Wilson, he too is versatile, which is something Graham needs in his players. This season, Gonzalez saw much playing time both in the slot (138 snaps) and outside (500). He’d provide the Raiders with an intelligent and physical corner who would excel in press coverage thanks to his frame and knowing how to use it effectively.
Gonzalez isn’t all bark at the line of scrimmage, though; he’s got enough speed to keep up with the best of them as you’ll notice above. He possesses sufficient athleticism that will help him develop into a reliable starter, but all the same, he’s not afraid of making the big hit.
Of course, taking a cornerback in the early rounds carries plenty of risks. Raiders coaches might be turned off by the fact that he tends to give receivers too much space if he’s not pressing at the line of scrimmage. Another aspect of his game that’ll need refinement will be his hands; he could find himself drawing flags if quicker receivers outmaneuver him. The last thing that the Raiders’ defense needs are more penalties.