Raiders TE Darren Waller impressed with ‘fearless’ rookie CB Damon Arnette

Luke Straub
·2 min read

The Raiders’ offense generates a lot of conversation, with coach Jon Gruden, quarterback Derek Carr and the unit’s young playmakers leading the way.

But it’s clear that if Las Vegas is to improve on its 2019 campaign, the defense must improve mightily. And the Raiders are depending on youth on that side of the ball, as well.

Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock selected cornerback Damon Arnette in the first round of the 2020 draft, causing some pundits to claim the Raiders received poor value from the pick. Arnette was too slow, and he wasn’t even the No. 1 CB at his alma mater, Ohio State, in 2019.

Gruden and Mayock cited Arnette’s toughness and willingness to tackle, and they also claimed he was faster than his 4.56-second time in the 40-yard dash.

The returns are early, but at least one prominent Raider agrees. Tight end Darren Waller was impressed with Arnette’s speed and attitude after team exercises at training camp on Friday, along with the overall speed of the defense.

“Yeah, without a doubt they look faster,” Waller said during his post-practice media session. “We had guys up there, I mean Damon Arnette is fearless on the outside as far as press coverage. He’ll line up against anybody.”

Waller also mentioned that second-year CB, Trayvon Mullen, carries that same confidence and athleticism.

The Raiders’ young cornerbacks have to hold up against the opposition for the 2020 season to be a productive one. Gruden already has an idea of what Mullen can do, but they’ve yet to see Arnette in a padded practice. So far, so good, however, judging from Waller’s comments.

Arnette’s attitude should help him realized his potential, and the Raiders’ brass has a lot riding on his selection. As the second of two first-round picks received in Khalil Mack trade, he’s a vital piece, at a vital position. If he can earn a starting spot this season, it will mean a lot to a rebuilding defense trying to find its way.