It didn’t take long for the first Oakland Raiders player to get hurt in their preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams. With most of the team’s starters sitting this game out, there are rookies starting all over for Oakland. Fourth-round pick Isaiah Johnson left the field due to a possible concussion after colliding with his teammate Marquel Lee.
This will likely keep Johnson out for the rest of the game because there’s no need to risk making things worse in the preseason. Johnson was one of three defensive backs the Raiders drafted in the first four rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft along with Johnathan Abram and Trayvon Mullen. Johnson is going to have a hard time getting a lot of playing time this, but he has come on strong in training camp and shouldn’t have a problem making the team. Johnson is a big cornerback. Despite his height (6’2), he still runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. The thing with Johnson is that he spent part of his college career as a wide receiver. He still needs some work before he’s ready to cover NFL receivers. Hopefully, he’s not out soon.
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Trayvon Mullen Gets the Start
Rookie second-round pick Trayvon Mullen probably won’t see too much time as a starter early on because of Gareon Conley, LaMarcus Joyner and Daryl Worley, but he’s already been showing potential early on in his career.
Mullen got the start against the Rams with Joyner, Worley and Conley sitting out the first preseason game. He’s already started to show up well in the early goings. He may not have been the biggest name on the Clemson 2018 defense, but he was good enough to win the defensive MVP in the National Championship game against Alabama. Plus, he didn’t give up a single touchdown reception in his entire college career.
Mullen should make an impact as a rookie. Conley has an injury history so Mullen could be very valuable if an unfortunate injury were to occur. It’s not a big secret that the Raiders have had a terrible time covering opposing teams’ tight ends. That’s even more of a problem because Travis Kelce, Hunter Henry and Noah Fant all share a division with the Raiders. Mullen is a big cornerback at 6’2. Maybe he can make an impact against tight ends. If he can, he’ll be a valuable addition to the defense.
More Rookie Defenders Getting a Chance
The Raiders have more or less shut down the Blake Bortles led Rams offense in the early goings. Much of that is thanks to the rookie defenders that have started all over the defense. Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell and Johnathan Abram also started with the previously mentioned Johnson and Mullen. Ferrell and Crosby have already gotten a couple of tackles. Both Abram and Ferrell were among the team captains for today’s game. Abram hasn’t had a chance to make a play just yet, but you’ll definitely hear more about him soon.