The Las Vegas Raiders could realistically have several candidates for “X-factor” this upcoming season. However, cornerback Trayvon Mullen certainly fits that mold when you consider several factors. Pro Football Focus certainly thinks Mullen will play that role in 2022.
Mullen was at one point considered one of the best draft picks by former general manager Mike Mayock. During Mayock’s run in the front office, the Raiders regularly looked to Clemson for talent. Mullen, for his part, was seen as a steal when Mayock drafted him in the second round back in 2019. Upon his arrival, Mullen burst onto the scene, quickly becoming a promising talent in the NFL. Fast forward to 2022 and the journey has been an inconsistent one.
Looking to bounce back from an injury-riddled 2021, Mullen will be key in a positional group that’s lacking depth. PFF pointed this out as well.
“The Raiders’ secondary stands out as one of the weaker positional groups of this roster, but there are also several younger players who could outperform expectations. Fourth-year cornerback Trayvon Mullen Jr. falls under that category. Mullen missed the majority of last season with a right foot injury, but he had a 73.9 PFF coverage grade in the first three games of the season after ranking seventh among cornerbacks with 11 pass breakups in 2020. There’s at least some reason for optimism heading into this season.”
Should the Raiders have reservations regarding Trayvon Mullen?
The fact is, the Raiders are relatively thin at cornerback. The team moved on from last year’s defensive standout, Casey Hayward, while Mullen played in just five games. During the offseason, the team’s brass made some additions, most notably Rock Ya-Sin, Anthony Averett, and Chris Jones. There’s potential with this group, as PFF points out, but that means the Raiders will be banking on that considering no big-name free agents were added. James Bradberry would’ve been nice, but we digress. If Mullen is all systems go by Week 1 and can regain his previous form, he’ll be a major contributor.
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