The Las Vegas Raiders’ cornerback position will have many new faces. This is necessary for them to be competitive in 2020.
The cornerback position needed a facelift considering that only Trayvon Mullen emerged as a reliable starter. Former first-round pick Gareon Conley was shipped off and as a whole, the unit was anything but impressive in 2019. Teamwise, the Raiders only nabbed nine interceptions while allowing 33 passing touchdowns. Reinforcements were needed if they were serious about making noise this upcoming season.
The cornerback group had several new faces infused via the NFL Draft and free agency thanks to general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden. Damon Arnette, Amik Robertson, and Prince Amukamara all figure to have a role in 2020. Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently weighed in the addition of Amukamara.
“Amukamara brings a wealth of starting experience to an extremely young cornerback room. While he might not be the same player at 31 years old that he was at 27, he provided a dependable level of play on a championship-caliber defense the last two years, and that is something the Raiders don’t take for granted.”
Amukamara’s experience and veteran leadership will be valuable due to the youth of this current cornerback unit. Speaking of youth, Arnette, the first-round pick out of Ohio State, could be the Day 1 starter, though the current climate brought on by the pandemic could postpone this. He’s missed out on offseason activities that would’ve otherwise helped him tremendously.
“It could hurt Arnette that the offseason is so restricted by COVID-19, as he is losing valuable on-field development time. Chances are, NFL teams might not report to work until training camp, which leaves precious little time to make up ground.”
In order to better prepare Arnette and help him get acclimated to the NFL, there’s a possibility that Amukamara could be the starter opposite of Mullen, short-term of course. Either way, the Raiders are already in better shape than last year to have a strong and consistent starter opposite of Mullen. Amukamara could fill the void early in the season, then, make way for Arnette to take over as the future starter for years to come alongside Mullen.
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