Like most rookies in their debut, there were both good and bad plays to take away from Damon Arnette’s performance in Week 1. He proved to be a strong, physical tackler and even recorded a much-needed pass deflection in the first half.
However, Arnette gave up the biggest play of the game, allowing a 75-yard touchdown to Robby Anderson that gave the Panthers a fourth-quarter lead. It’s an early reminder to Arnette how difficult the cornerback position is in the NFL.
In a recent article by Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, he wrote about the debut of every first-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft. Here is what he had to say about Arnette’s up-and-down performance:
“Damon Arnette’s coverage statistics make for some ugly reading, and while his PFF grade wasn’t good (52.6), it wasn’t quite as bad as those numbers suggest. Arnette was targeted five times, allowing four catches for 110 yards, a touchdown and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Most of the damage was done on one ugly play against Robby Anderson where he was wrecked by a double move and left grasping at air just trying to make the tackle to prevent the big play.”
As Monson mentioned, Arnette wasn’t quite as bad as the numbers show due to the one long play by Anderson. Still, the Raiders are going to need Arnette to be better quickly as they will face several top-ranked offenses in the upcoming month.
How Arnette performs this year opposite of Trayvon Mullen will be a telltale sign as to what type of success the Raiders are having on defense. Look for the rookie to bounce back in a tough Week 2 matchup against the Saints on Monday Night Football.
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