When the Raiders drafted Isaiah Johnson in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, they knew that he was a work in progress. He’s tall and athletic, but very raw. That said, they were definitely excited about his potential. Unfortunately, he suffered a significant facial injury in the preseason and missed a lot of time he could’ve spent developing his skillset. He also had to go through back surgery this offseason.
Thanks to that fact, Johnson has become a forgotten man among the Raiders’ impressive 2019 rookie class. Though he won’t have a lot of hype heading into the team’s offseason, he’s finally healthy and ready to change the narrative about him.
He’s completely right. Statements do need to be made if he’s going to stand out among some of the Raiders’ other impressive young players. Johnson has all the tools to be a good cornerback. He’s just going to have to keep putting in the work.
Raiders Will Likely Add DB Help
2019 would’ve been a great year for Johnson to try and get some reps on the defense, but that was out of his control. Heading into 2020, expect the Raiders’ defensive backfield to be much more competitive. The team already has rumored interest in hot ticket free agents Byron Jones and Chris Harris Jr. Las Vegas has cap space and they could be looking to use it to sure up their pass defense.
That’s not even mentioning the draft as it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Raiders went cornerback with one their two first-round picks. If the team plans on winning the AFC West in the near future, they’re going to have to slow down Patrick Mahomes. Loading up on cornerbacks would certainly help their chances of doing that. Expect the Raiders make a big run at a couple of top cornerbacks in free agency and the draft this year.
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Keep an Eye on Johnson This Offseason
As of now, it looks like Trayvon Mullen, Nevin Lawson and LaMarcus Joyner are locks to make the roster at cornerback. Factor in a potential free agent signing and/or high draft pick and there aren’t going to be many available spots left. Even though he was a fourth-round pick, Isaiah Johnson could easily find himself as an odd man out. Jon Gruden has yet to prove to be anything other than ruthless. If he doesn’t think you’re keeping up, he’s going to cut you.
Johnson has a lot to prove this offseason if he’s going to stay on the roster. Luckily, he’s getting healthy and might have the best intangibles of any cornerback on the roster. He’s 6’2 and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. You simply can’t teach those kinds of intangibles. Plus, it sounds like he’s extremely motivated to take the next step this season. He’s definitely a player to keep an eye on as it wouldn’t be surprising if he went into minicamps and puts on a show. Johnson could be a big sleeper heading into the season and could turn into a solid cornerback for the Raiders.