There were additions to the Raiders secondary this past offseason. Whether it was through free agency or the 2019 NFL Draft, Oakland wasted no time upgrading their secondary. Cornerback Gareon Conley, who played well last year, is one of the few players remaining and that should help stabilize the team’s defense.
The Raiders signed former Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner and selected Jonathan Abram, cornerbacks Treyvon Muller and Isaiah Johnson in the draft. With the exception of maybe Johnson, they are all expected to contribute right away or as soon as possible. If everything goes according to the plan, that would mean that the Raiders secondary will have three new starters. It is uncertain how much incumbent Karl Joseph will play this year, so it’s a good guess that Conley will be one of the few if not the only player in the perimeter that started a game for Oakland last year.
Conley struggled with injuries and legal situations his rookie year. He could have let these distractions define him, but he sucked it up and decide to be the best version of himself on the field. According to Football Focus, he finished the year with a 23.6% incompletion rate and ranked fourth among players targeted more than 25 times in 2018. Not elite numbers, but something to build on.
Head coach Jon Gruden has cleaned the house and most of the starters from two years ago are gone. The fact Gruden didn’t draft Conley but has keep him on the team speaks good things about the corner. There hasn’t been any comments regarding his job security, so it’s safe to assume that he will be part of the team’s future. It’s too early to talk about extensions, but if Conley plays the way he has, Oakland will have a good problem to take care of when contract talks come and Conley will become a veteran building block.
The Raiders will need all the mentorship they can get and he could provide that as one of the youngest veteran players on the roster and so many faces taking on key roles.
Conley showed he is a good player, but good won’t cut it anymore. Year two was a warm up, he must go full throttle in year three.
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