As the 2023 NFL season winds down, let’s get our Las Vegas Raiders draft coverage going. To get things started this draft season, we’re going to bring you 30 prospects in 30 days; in particular, many of these will be Day 1 prospects and some Day 2 prospects worthy of attention from Raiders fans. One other thing to remember: this is a pre-NFL Combine set-up, and we’ll revisit another 30 prospect lists afterward. First up, we have Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold.
A handful of these prospective players will be in the cornerback position early on. The Raiders desperately need long-term help; as most fans know, the Marcus Peters experiment failed miserably. Going after older or even average cornerbacks in free agency has proven to be fruitless for the Silver and Black. To build up a defense, I’m still a believer you do it from the outside in—the team has pass rushers to build off already, but it’s for naught if you can’t cover any opposing receivers.
Regardless of who the general manager is by January’s end, drafting a cornerback should be a priority. Terrion Arnold gives the team a potential Day 1 starter out of the gate.
Raiders Draft: No. 30 Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama
NFL fans often choose to ignore college production; there’s no guarantee a given player will be able to recreate that at the pro level. Fair enough. But in Arnold’s case, the numbers do tell a big part of the story. In fact, he tops the entire SEC with five interceptions in 2023; on top of that, he was second in his respective conference with 11 pass deflections. Say what you will, but those are gawdy numbers in what’s arguably college football’s toughest conference.
Pro Football Focus also shows that Terrion Arnold could be relied upon either inside or playing wide outside. He recorded 520 snaps defending receivers outside, while Arnold played in the slot 196 times. Arnold’s 89.8 overall defensive grade is notable, though his 91.1 grade in the run defense department is also something to keep in mind.
Ahead of the combine, Arnold is listed at six feet tall, weighing in between 180 and 196 pounds, per PFF. By comparison, Arnold measures very similar to Nate Hobbs; once the combine comes around, you will get a deeper understanding of his measurements.
Terrion Arnold & Kool-Aid TFL on 3rd & 1!!!
— Video from: @TSV__1 (@TSV__1) December 2, 2023
Raiders Draft: Strengths And Weaknesses
Originally a safety out of high school, Arnold flourished under Nick Saban. Arnold, one of the most explosive athletes that’ll come out of this year’s Alabama prospect batch, is still a raw project in some regard but is definitely worth the gamble.
In terms of coverage, Arnold worked on his skills this past season, and it showed. Coming into the NFL, he’ll have some of the most sharp and crisp movements. In addition, his field awareness and ability to process plays on the field make him a formidable defensive prospect—a top-tier run defender at that. It also helps that Arnold possesses noteworthy burst and explosiveness that lets him close the gap quickly—in other words, he suffocates receivers.
If you’re the Raiders, Terrion Arnold sounds like the type of guy that might flourish under Patrick Graham.
*Top Photo: Alabama Athletics