One player on the Las Vegas Raiders defense is holding his ground in the air.
Second-year player Trayvon Mullen has emerged as a starting cornerback in the NFL and continues to be the Raiders' best defensive back, solely taking the responsibility of shutting down the opposing team's best receiver.
Mullen's coverage seems to be the only consistent part of the Raiders defense this year.
Pro Football Focus has Mullen as the sixth-highest graded cornerback ahead of Week 4.
His passing grade of 73.4 ranks him the eight-best coverage cornerback in the NFL.
In the Week 3 matchup in Foxborough, Mass., he limited the New England Patriots top two receivers from receiving more than two receptions and reaching over 35 yards.
When targeted, Cam Newton had a 39.6 passer rating.
Mullen allowed only one catch for eight yards on four targets, adding four pass breakups along the way.
According to PFF, Mullen finished with a 92.7 coverage grade, second among all eligible cornerbacks in week three.
"To me, I just took another step from Week 1, Week 2," Mullen said. "I know I needed improvement, I dialed in, like I should do each week. Dialed into the edge, I'm going to bring into the game for Week 3. That was my motive going into the game. I had a certain mindset, which I will have for each week going out."
While his pass-coverage was near excellent, he has had some horrible plays on run support. Thus far, he has picked up a 27.2 run grade, ranked 97th out of 98 eligible cornerbacks.
In his second year with the Raiders, he also is becoming a leader among the young rookies and new teammates in the secondary, setting the standards high for everyone in that group and improving weekly throughout the season.
"We gotta improve in tackling," Mullen said. "We know from this past week, we just need to grow and trust each other through this, Week 4, and the continuous weeks. I feel like we'll get better as a whole group."
Mullen's defense will be needed this Sunday as they face an excellent Buffalo Bills passing offense. His leadership presence should motivate the rest of the Raiders to improve from last week's performance.
How to watch or listen to the Las Vegas Raiders versus the Buffalo Bills Sunday?
TV: CBS 4:25 ET/1:00 PT
Radio: Raider Nation Radio
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