CBS Sports currently has the Las Vegas Raiders slated to take a cornerback in April’s NFL draft. That begs the question, considering the talent that might be available, should the Silver and Black add to their secondary?
It’s officially mock season with the NFL playoffs at our doorstep. The Raiders are fighting to get into the playoffs, so their final slot in this year’s draft order has not been finalized yet. That being said, Chris Trapasso from CBS predicts the Silver and Black will pick prior to the 20th selection.
With the 18th pick, the Raiders go with Florida’s Kaiir Elam. Trapasso cites Elam’s length and physicality as key traits. “Elam is a long, physical cornerback with years of SEC experience. The Raiders have to bring in more talent on the perimeter of their defense.”
Interestingly enough, the Philadelphia Eagles are lined up to select Andrew Booth from Clemson at number 19. “Booth has light feet and crazy ball skills. The Eagles could add more youth to their secondary” according to Trapasso.
Should the Raiders be looking at a corner?
Truthfully, that logic can apply to the Raiders just as it does for Philly. The Silver and Black defense will need reinforcements at cornerback after this season. Casey Hayward had an amazing season, playing like a true lockdown corner in 2021. However, he’s not getting younger. Trayvon Mullen still has potential, but health was a concern this season and should raise concerns. Damon Arnette isn’t even on the team anymore, a bust. Overall, the team still needs speed and size in the perimeter, and either Elam or Booth would be welcomed additions.
At six-foot-two and 196 pounds, Elam impressed at Florida his last two seasons, totaling 16 pass deflections, three interceptions, and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Booth, who is slightly undersized at six feet, has also dazzled over the last two years. He accumulated nine pass deflections and three interceptions, and was ninth in the ACC in 2020 for interceptions. Both of these corners have reliable hands given the number of turnovers they caused, and that is something the Raiders could always use more of. We still don’t know if Gus Bradley will be back next season or if a new defensive coordinator will take over. Regardless, reloading the secondary could be one route the Raiders take.
*Top Photo: ClemsonSports.com