The Las Vegas Raiders once again are coming off of a late-season collapse, they would love to forget about. After starting 6-3, the Raiders finished 8-8 on the season, putting Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock on the hot seat with the fan base. The Raiders had another eventful off-season, revamping a team that looks to take the next step. Although there were some moves on offense, the Raiders main focus in the draft and free agency was squarely on improving the 25th ranked passing defense. The Raiders added some new faces to their cornerback group, including Casey Hayward Jr.. The additions and new coaching scheme there look to create one of the more interesting battles in the Raiders training camp.
Raiders 2021 Training Camp Battles: Cornerback
Taking a look at the roster, the Raiders cornerbacks offer the most fluidity of any position for 2021. With only one real lock to start and make the team, in third-year veteran Trayvon Mullen Jr., there is competition all over the place. Most of this falls back on the horrid rookie campaign from first-round pick, Damon Arnette in 2020. His 2020 season was so bad, rumors are flying he may not get a second chance at starting this season. With additions of Rasul Douglas, Nate Hobbs, and Casey Hayward this off-season, the corners from 2020 are all on watch. Here is a breakdown of how this competition might shake out.
Perhaps the Raiders worst position last season was the slot corner position. The hope is with the departure of veteran LaMarcus Joyner, this position will be better by default. However, there are still major question marks here. Currently, the competition is pegged to be between Illinois rookie Nate Hobbs, Amik Robertson, Rasul Douglas, and Nevin Lawson. Lawson is considered the favorite here, however, he faces a two-game PED suspension, which could allow someone else to take over. Veteran Rasul Douglas should provide some major completion along with Nate Hobbs, who could end up being the biggest surprise of camp for the Raiders, with an elite draft profile. The most expendable name on the list is Amik Robertson, who had a horrific season, grading out at 42.2 on pff. Although it’s early to give up on another draft pick, the Raiders have enough competition here to see this through.
The Raiders again, are going to be looking at giving up on a second-year player in Damon Arnette. His work ethic and overall play on the field have been questioned by many. As a result, the Raiders added veteran corner Casey Hayward, who is projected to start opposite of third-year budding star Trayvon Mullen Jr. There is a chance Arnette can improve in a more limited role with a full off-season and earn playing time again. However, at least to start the season Mullen Jr. and Hayward will get the nod. Isaiah Johnson and Keisean Nixon should provide good competition for depth here as well.
Who’s In: Casey Hayward, Damon Arnette, Nate Hobbs, Rasul Douglas, Trayvon Mullen, and Nevin Lawson (Suspension)
Who’s Out: Amik Robertson, Keisan Nixon, Isaiah Johnson
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