Raiders Draft

Raiders Draft: Top 10 Cornerback Prospects

With the 2020 NFL Draft less than three weeks away, the Las Vegas Raiders are putting the finishing touches on their draft board. Here at the Raider Ramble, it is no different. Over the next few days, final rankings of every position group will be released, with cornerbacks fourth on the list.

Here are the previous three entries:

Raiders Draft: Their Current CB Situation

In 2019, Trayvon Mullen spearheaded the Raiders cornerback group. The rookie out of Clemson proved to be a vital asset once former first-round pick Gareon Conley was traded to the Texans midway through the season.

Behind Mullen, the Raiders have more questions than answers as the group as whole allowed these haunting statistics last season:

  • 7.4 yards per passing attempt (30th)
  • 33 receiving touchdowns (27th)
  • 64.1% percent completion rate (23rd)

After contract negotiations with veteran free agent cornerback Eli Apple broke down, the position is running thin on experience and talent after the departure of Daryl Worley.

  • Isaiah Johnson
  • Nevin Lawson
  • Trayvon Mullen
  • Nick Nelson
  • Keisean Nixon

With the passing game currently reigning supreme, the group above does not inspire confidence. One could dare to say that cornerback is the franchise’s most sparse unit. With that being said, the upcoming draft class offers a myriad of talent to choose from.

Related: Former Raiders CB Hamilton finds home with Chiefs

Raiders Draft: The Top 10 CB Prospects

It is not out of the question the Raiders may use one or even two of their five top 100 selections to address this pressing need. They’re also front-loaded with two top 20 picks and have the means to take a difference maker early and another one later if deemed necessary.

Top-10-CB-2020

Jeffrey Okudah – Ohio State Buckeyes

Okudah leads the pack at the position and could easily become the best player in the entire draft class. His ability to play in any coverage scheme and shut down opposing wide receivers is unparalleled.

There is no question that Okudah is the top cornerback, but unless the Raiders have plans to trade up, he is not a realistic option for the franchise. Next on the list lies a prospect that has received a fair share of criticism.

C.J. Henderson – Florida Gators

Henderson is also a top-level player in terms of his coverage ability. In 2019, opposing quarterbacks only targeted him 4.3 times per game. He was not tested often, and rightfully so.

Henderson’s downside is that he plays the game in such a finesse way that at times, he shows hesitancy to make a physical play on opposing ball carriers.

There is no such thing as a perfect prospect and his magnificent coverage prowess should overshadow the singular correctable weakness in his play. Depending on how the front office values other players, Henderson is a viable option for the Silver and Black at No. 12.

Jeff Gladney – TCU Horned Frogs

Third on this list is Gladney, who is as physical as they come at the position. In terms of an ideal match, he fits what the Raider front office is looking for at any position.

  • Competitiveness
  • Physical
  • Work Ethic/High Motor

Rather than using the 12th pick, Las Vegas could use the 19th selection on the TCU product. Out of the top three, Gladney is the best choice for the team to address the position in the first round. However, there is another player further down this list that the Silver and Black should also target.

Cameron Dantzler – Mississippi State Bulldogs

Dantzler may arrive at ninth on this list, but he is a corner that fits the Raiders’ defensive scheme. After playing with the Bulldogs, he’s already got great familiarity with the 4-2-5 defensive scheme. As the tallest cornerback in the draft class, he puts his height advantage to great use.

As a football player, Dantzler imposes his will with physicality and length at the line of scrimmage. He may not be the fastest prospect, but he will make opposite receivers work to gain separation before they can even think of using speed against him.

In 22 starts at Mississippi State, Dantzler didn’t allow any touchdowns and only one reception on 15 targets in the red zone. In addition, he only had one game in his college career where he allowed his more than 60 receiving yards when targeted. For Las Vegas, his skill set opposite of Mullen would be optimal. However, the team must address the gap in selections between 19 and 80 if they were to acquire him.

In Review

If the Raiders want to improve, it is imperative that the team addresses the cornerback position in the upcoming draft. Not one, but two additional cornerbacks on the roster would provide depth and relief to a group that will face Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes twice a year. The Raiders must target a talented corner early, and possibly again if they hope to see true improvement on the defensive side of the ball.

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