Selecting a cornerback in April’s NFL draft might not be a popular move, but for the Las Vegas Raiders, it’s a possibility they need to consider.
Upgrading the defensive line’s interior should be the Raiders’ priority in a few months at the NFL draft. However, the inability to stop the pass warrants just as much attention. South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn could be both a plausible and realistic pick for Las Vegas with the 17th overall pick. It’s realistic because highly touted Alabama prospect Patrick Surtain II might be off the board by then. As far as being plausible, we all know the Raiders surprise fans every year with their picks, especially first-round selections.
Curveballs aside, Horn would be an excellent addition and cornerback is still a need for the Silver and Black. Last year’s first-round choice, cornerback Damon Arnette, underperformed for a myriad of reasons. If only Arnette could cover as well as he battles users on social media, his selection wouldn’t garner as much criticism. For this reason, along with disappointing numbers when he did play, the Raiders are in need of a cornerback again in 2021.
What could Horn do for the Raiders?
Horn flourished at South Carolina, and his overall numbers in 30 games over the last three years were noteworthy. He compiled two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and seven tackles for a loss. The Gamecocks cornerback also showed pass-rushing potential, he accumulated three sacks, posting a 91.1 Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade.
PFF also broke down Horn’s snap count for his 2020 campaign, and he played the majority of his snaps on the outside wide, totaling 342. However, the junior displayed potential all over the field, particularly in the slot.
Jaycee Horn was absolutely lights out against Seth Williams — he played out of his mind.
(and bodied him on the play below for good measure) pic.twitter.com/dd5kShccQI
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) October 19, 2020
Nevertheless, Horn’s strength is covering receivers on the outside, as you can see in the clip above. He possesses excellent tackling skills and makes the most of his body despite measuring six-foot-one. He’s also scrappy, battling receivers at the line of scrimmage, has some very active hands, and is constantly making plays. You can see in his film that he swarms his receiver in spite of his height and he makes up for it with physical play and awareness. These are traits that would serve him well in a Raiders uniform and with Ron Milus on the coaching staff, this pick makes too much sense.
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*Top Photo: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports