Thanks to Trayvon Mullen, the Las Vegas Raiders have one half of their defensive backfield locked down.
For what seems like an eternity, the Raiders have lacked quality and consistency at cornerback. That’s not saying there haven’t been some talented playmakers, but they’ve been few and far in between. To remedy this, general manager Mike Mayock, who has done a masterful job picking talent, selected Mullen in last year’s draft. Mullen, who played his collegiate career at Clemson, brought championship pedigree with him along with size and plenty of speed.
He Has It All
Scott Bair of NBC Sports recently spotlighted Mullen’s 2019 season and what it means for the Raiders moving forward this year.
“…Mullen established himself after the Conley trade pushed him into the starting lineup, showing an ability to execute the physical coverage style the Raiders prefer. He has the size, speed, and aggressiveness to compete in the NFL, exuding confidence in his ability to sustain success. That’s why he’s a virtual lock to start a one outside cornerback spot this season…”
Sometimes, one person’s misfortunes can translate into an opportunity for someone else. In this case, Gareon Conley, a former first-round pick, was traded away by the Raiders after he failed to live up to expectations. Once Conley was gone, Mullen made the most of his playing time and it showed. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden went on to praise Mullen’s 2019 performance, indicating he’s a second-rounder with huge potential.
“He is the brightest light of the whole thing for me… He’s a tough guy. He’s I think improved his level of play, his overall consistency.” –Gruden on Mullen in 2019
The Future Is Bright
To be called the biggest bright spot of not just the Raiders defense but the whole team says a lot. Mullen has the toughness, speed, and consistency to be the lockdown corner the Raiders have needed for years. The benefit of this was that Mayock and Gruden only had to worry about addressing one side of the field this year. The way things are going and after another impressive draft class, the possibility exists Mullen will be lining up opposite the likes of Damon Arnette and Amik Robertson. For the first time in a long time, cornerback might actually end up being one of the Raiders’ biggest strengths.
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*Top Photo: James Plain/Raiders.com