Raiders

Critics Have Harsh Words For Raiders 1st Round Pick

The Las Vegas Raiders addressed their two (arguably) biggest needs in the 2020 NFL Draft’s first round, wide receiver, and cornerback. However, the latter of their two picks has received some harsh words from a certain NFL analyst.

Raider Nation drew a collective sigh when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the Raiders’ 19th pick, Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette. Unless you were familiar with film study and or followed college football closely, you probably weren’t too familiar with the name. There’s nothing wrong with that, there’s always going to be a prospect that rises out of nowhere and nobody heard of until the draft. By no means was this a bad pick, but as soon as the selection was announced, social media was flooded with film clips, analysis, and important tidbits from analysts.

Related: Expectations are higher in Year 2 for Raiders GM Mike Mayock

Harsh Words

In particular Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus, had some rather harsh words for the Raiders and Arnette’s future prospects in the NFL. “Arnette does not in any way, shape, or form fit the normal profile for a first-round cornerback,” said Renner on the former Buckeye going high in the first round. The issue with Renner’s assessment is that even though his analysis deems Arnette not a “normal” first-round pick, its possible general manager Mike Mayock does view him as one. That, or maybe the front office did not want to risk losing out on him without the luxury of a second-round pick this year, so they reached a little.

Renner didn’t stop there though, he went on to point out Arnette’s age and speed, as well as his production, oh, and his arm length too. “He’s slow (4.56-second 40-yard time) and old (turns 24 in September) with below-average ball production (22 picks plus pass-breakups in three years as a starter) and poor length (30-inch arms).” Those numbers are facts and that much can’t be discredited. However, it feels like they were flipped to fit a narrative. After all, Renner works for PFF and many fans are not too fond of the way they grade players. The advance statistics site is definitely a reliable source, but it’s not a perfect system either. In this case, he pushed Arnette’s perceived “flaws” and combined them with a “grade” of 74.9 to say he was “the 11th best cornerback available”. Again, this is PFF’s board, not Mayock’s and head coach Jon Gruden’s.

Raiders: Final Words

Arnette is yet to even put on shoulder pads for the Raiders, so to already call him one of the worst picks of the draft is the real “reach” here. As far as him being a “normal” pick, these are the Raiders we’re talking about, there’s nothing “normal” about them. Let’s wait and see how defensive coordinator Paul Guenther uses Arnette. Perhaps it turns out he’s the missing cog in that backfield. After all, football season can’t come back soon enough.

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Top image by Zack Bolinger/Icon Sportswire

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