The Las Vegas Raiders haven’t recently had a good track record drafting defensive backs. Thus, it’s not surprising to see their dearth of secondary talent come up as one of the team’s weaknesses heading into the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ben Lindsey of Bleacher Report believes the Raiders’ biggest weakness ahead of this year’s selection meeting is the secondary. He points out that they have invested two first-round picks and one in the second round in back-to-back drafts and don’t have much to show for it. Therefore, the team is in need of replenishing the group once again.
Lindsey mentions that 2019 first-round pick Johnathan Abram posted PFF’s lowest grade among safeties in 2020. Also, he brings up Damon Arnette’s lowly 37.5 PFF grade last season and adds that he was labeled a reach in the first round. On the other hand, while Trayvon Mullen has been the best of the bunch, he still has room for improvement. In the trio’s defense, Lindsey mentions that Gus Bradley will now oversee the Raiders defense.
What can the Raiders do to change their situation?
Even though it doesn’t show up on the scoreboard, we need to take into account the Paul Guenther factor when evaluating the Las Vegas’ defense over the last three years. The former defensive coordinator always held others accountable but not himself. He was quick to point fingers at players and emphasize the fact they didn’t follow their assignments. With him now out of the equation, the Raiders’ defensive backs will have a chance to show that Guenther’s defense was holding them back.
On the other hand, the Raiders need to err on the side of caution. It’s too soon to give up on the trio of early picks. Nevertheless, they could pick someone like safety Richie Grant or Tay Gowan in 2021’s draft. If Abram, Mullen, and Arnette raise their game because they feel the heat, the team’s investment in a couple of defensive back prospects will have paid off. On the other side of the coin, if they falter, there will be two players ready to take their place.
At this point, it doesn’t make much sense about what the Raiders could’ve done differently in the last two drafts. Rather, it’s time for them to find ways to bolster their secondary. Whether Arnette or Abram are part of the solution, that’s a different subject.
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