Raiders Draft Position Preview: Cornerback

The Las Vegas Raiders have multiple young corners they could further build around in the 2021 NFL Draft
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Any fans who paid attention to the Las Vegas Raiders last offseason knew that their secondary was going to go through some growing pains in 2020.

That’s what happens when both of your main outside cornerbacks had one combined season of NFL experience going in.

Those corners would be first-round rookie Damon Arnette and sophomore Trayvon Mullen.

Injuries and a lack of quality play from their veterans made those growing pains even more pronounced.

Arnette was hurt early in the season with a broken hand and wound up playing in only nine games this season.

Mullen, in fact, was the only main member of the Raiders secondary who played in all 16 games last season.

That availability allowed him to lead Raiders corners with two interceptions and 14 pass deflections.

When you look at the advanced numbers, however, even with those numbers Mullen fell well below replacement level at cornerback.

In fact, all of the Raiders corners did. No eligible corner for the Raiders ranked by Pro Football Focus (PFF) was higher than 81st in the league out of 122 corners ranked.

That highest ranked corner was veteran Nevin Lawson, who in seven seasons has yet to record an interception.

Another veteran who has disappointed is Lamarcus Joyner, who signed a four-year contract with the team in the 2019 offseason.

After emerging as a standout defensive back with the Los Angeles Rams, Joyner has found little success in his time with the Raiders, having not forced a turnover in two years with the team.

Joyner also started only six of the 14 games he played last season. Considering his shrinking role, he could even become a cut candidate this offseason with the Raiders projected to be over the cap.

Considering the youth of players like Arnette and Mullen, the Raiders could look to their continued development as the main way to improve the position.

Considering that Lawson was only on a one-year deal and the potential situation with Joyner, the Raiders could look to the 2021 NFL Draft for help. 

Patrick Surtain II of Alabama emerged as the top prospect at the position this past season, although it’s not a guarantee he’ll still be there when the Raiders pick at No 17 overall in the first round.

If not, corners like Caleb Farley of Virginia Tech and Arnette’s former Ohio State teammate Shaun Wade could get looks from the Raiders. 

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