If the NFL season has you depressed and frustrated, have no fear as the NFL Draft is near. The Raiders are currently on the outside looking in for a playoff but could have a top-20 pick to help rebuild their roster.
One such spot could be at cornerback. Casey Hayward has been a star this season, but he is on a one-year deal. While it’s fair to assume the Raiders will do everything in their power to retain him, he’ll turn 33 before next season and isn’t a lock to be on the roster in 2022.
Could the Raiders use the draft to improve the depth at defensive back? In a recent mock draft by Pro Football Focus, they selected Sauce Gardner for the Raiders in the middle of the first round. Here is what they had to say about the possible pick:
Gardner is in the midst of the stingiest seasons PFF College has ever seen from a cornerback who predominantly plays man coverage. He has allowed only 87 total yards from 368 coverage snaps and 11 starts while picking off three passes and breaking up another. Gardner’s success isn’t limited to this year, either. The 6-foot-3 cornerback’s length gives him an advantage against every receiver he faces. He brings a “dog” mentality to the field and is an easy first-rounder.
With Nate Hobbs locking down the slot cornerback job, the Raiders could use another outside cornerback. Trayvon Mullen will be entering a contract year in 2022 and hasn’t proved that he can stay healthy.
The best bet for the Raiders is that they will go offense in the first round, either offensive tackle or wide receiver. But if they decide to go defense, don’t rule out cornerback. Garnder would be a fantastic option in the middle of Round 1 if the Raiders go in that direction.
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