Heading into this year’s draft, the Las Vegas Raiders have plenty of needs. The biggest needs appear to be at right tackle and safety. However, that might not stop the team from looking at other positions.
In 2019, the Raiders used a second-round pick on cornerback Trayvon Mullen. Last year, the team used a first-round pick on Damon Arnette. Based on last season, it’s fair to question if either guy will be a longtime starter for Las Vegas. According to a new mock draft from NFL Network’s Peter Schrager, the Raiders could try to address cornerback in the draft once again this year. He has the team selecting Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II with their first-round pick.
“This could be higher than other mock drafts have Newsome going, but I think teams are higher on the Northwestern CB than the rest of our “draft media” world,” Schrager wrote. “He is smart, tough and brings a professionalism to the field. The Raiders will be looking to continue their offseason trend: beefing up the defense.”
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Would Newsome Be a Good Pick?
There’s no doubt Newsome is an exciting prospect. In fact, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com believes his pro comparison is Darius Slay, who is one of the best in the business. He’s lengthy, competitive and tough, which are all things that Jon Gruden loves.
With all that said, the Raiders have to be very apprehensive about drafting another cornerback. Like it or not, the team has to give Arnette and Mullen a shot. They can’t keep wasting draft picks. Mullen showed some really strong flashes last season. There were teams where he looked like a shutdown cornerback. He struggled towards the end of the season but could show big-time improvement with Gus Bradley now running the defense.
It’s hard to know what the Raiders have in Arnette right now. He missed seven games as a rookie and was banged up in a lot of the ones that he actually played in. The team was really high on him heading into the season but he struggled when he was on the field. The Raiders have to at least give him a full year to prove he’s not a bust.
Positions Raiders Should Target in 1st Round
Tough the Raiders recently decided to bring back Karl Joseph, they still have a major need at safety. Unfortunately, there might not be a safety prospect who is worth taking with the No. 17 pick. If the team is set on taking a safety early, they should consider trading back.
If the Raiders skip on a safety in the first round, it’s very possible they take a right tackle. This draft is loaded with very good offensive line prospects and the team should be able to find a great one with that 17th pick. However, since there is an abundance of offensive line talent in the draft, Las Vegas could wait until later in the draft to address the need.
A great player can always slide down the board, which could open up an opportunity for the Raiders. They don’t really have a need at linebacker, but if Micah Parson falls, it’s hard to see them passing him up. Also, Jaylen Waddle or Devonta Smith could fall in the draft. The Raiders really don’t need to use more draft picks on wide receivers but Gruden might not be able to pass up the opportunity to land one of those two.
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