Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette might end up becoming a solid player but the team missed the mark by not taking linebacker Patrick Queen in the 2020 NFL Draft.
To suggest that Arnette is a bust after just one season would be asinine. Was he a reach with the 19th overall pick? That could be more accurate, considering how he performed in his rookie year. On the other hand, Queen, whom the Raiders passed on, had an outstanding year for the Baltimore Ravens.
Arnette for his part was affected by injuries, concussions, and COVID-19. Despite all the ailments, even when he did see the field, the results weren’t exactly outstanding. Queen started all 16 regular-season games for the Ravens and more than lived up to being the 28th overall selection. Bleacher Report recently revisited last April’s draft and posed the scenario where the Raiders actually select Queen over Arnette.
What if the Raiders had gone with Queen?
Cornerbacks and linebackers positions carry different responsibilities and one-on-one comparisons don’t make much sense. However, on such a poor Raiders defense that couldn’t stop the run nor defend the pass, a positive effect is better than none. This is exactly what happened, Arnette had zero impact on the Raiders in 2020.
Queen’s impact on the Silver and Black would’ve been monumental, though we have to consider Paul Guenther would’ve been his defensive coordinator. In 2020, the LSU standout compiled nine tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, and 13 pressures. He was also instrumental in rushing quarterbacks, posting a Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade of 72.5. Queen was brought in on 85 blitzes, accumulating three sacks in the process.
Strictly looking at Arnette’s numbers, they paint a somber picture. Arnette’s PFF coverage grade was God-awful at 37.5 for his rookie year. Against the pass, he gave up 309 passing yards and |06.9 quarterback rating in nine games. If the Raiders don’t want to end up regretting Arnette’s selection, his completion percentage of 78.1 will have to improve.
So far it’s obvious that the Raiders would’ve been in much better shape with Queen after 2020. Let’s give Arnette a shot though, he can still bounce back with a healthy 2021 campaign that will have him be mentored by Ron Milus. It is interesting to pose the question though. If they could, would be the Raiders pick Queen in a redo?
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*Top Photo: Associated Press/Isaac Brekken