It’s been a wild offseason for the Las Vegas Raiders in many ways. The team has upgraded in several areas, mostly on offense, but in a few spots on defense as well. One position they may be lacking in, however, is the cornerback spot.
The cornerback position has been one that has struggled for a while on the Raiders’ roster. In the past several years, Raider Nation has become accustomed to poor defense, but one of the weakest spots has been at cornerback. Fortunately, this position does seem to be on the upswing. The cornerback spot is no longer the biggest weakness on the defense.
The current Raiders cornerback group
The current cornerback group is solid in general, but it could still be upgraded a bit. As of now, the two players who figure to start across from each other are Rock Ya-Sin and Trayvon Mullen. These two might have some of the most potential on the entire roster. Statistically speaking, this pairing isn’t impressive. When it comes to pure talent and potential, though, there’s a lot to be excited about.
Nate Hobbs figures to get the nod at slot cornerback when the season begins. Hobbs had a very impressive rookie season and is poised to take a huge leap in 2022. He’s a skilled and technical player and should have no trouble locking down opposing slot receivers.
As we get into the depth of the group, we find where the Raiders may be lacking. While their top three are impressive, there’s not a ton of talent after those three. There’s Anthony Averett, the 27-year-old former Baltimore Raven. Averett hasn’t had an extremely impressive career, but he has found some success recently, and during his time in Baltimore he did show an ability to lock up some of the better wide receivers in the league. The Raiders have another young cornerback in Amik Robertson, but he hasn’t proven much in his short career. There are a couple of extra guys filling out some roster spots, but in general, the depth at the cornerback position isn’t exactly impressive.
Did the position get better or worse?
Ultimately, this unit did seem to have gotten worse. Casey Hayward Jr. made a huge impact last year, and statistically speaking, he was one of the better cornerbacks in the entire league. The addition of Ya-Sin does help the Raiders’ secondary, but it isn’t enough to make up for losing Heyward. In addition, the Raiders lost Brandon Facyson this offseason as well. Facyson wasn’t great last year, but he did have some huge plays in the latter part of the season, and his depth will be missed.
To balance things out, Las Vegas did sign veteran cornerback Averett this offseason. Averett will likely play a similar role to the one Facyson played last year, so the signing does help cushion that blow a bit. Still, the loss of Hayward hurts a bit. With no real big move to help shore up the position, it’s fair to say the cornerback position got worse this offseason.
*Top Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today