The Las Vegas Raiders found their number one wide receiver by drafting Henry Ruggs with their first first-round pick. Their second biggest need was at cornerback and they decided to surprise the masses by drafting Damon Arnette out of Ohio State with the 19th pick.
To say nobody saw this coming is an understatement. Arnette was thought to go in the second or third round of the draft, but clearly, the Raiders couldn’t wait. The team had a huge need at cornerback and the Ohio State product will definitely help in that regard. However, it remains to be seen if he’ll be ready to start anytime soon.
Arnette doesn’t have elite size or speed, so it’s bizarre the Raiders would reach for him. The team did this last year when they took Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick and it’s still unclear if that was the right call. The newest Raiders cornerback will have to do some work to prove everybody wrong.
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Highlights of Raiders’ New CB Drafted at No. 19 [WATCH]
While the decision to select Arnette so early in the draft will be questioned until he actually hits the field, Pro Football Focus did point out that he had the lowest passer rating allowed in single coverage in the entire draft class.
Quarterbacks also had a hard time completing passes on Arnette last season. Per ESPN, he only allowed a 37.9% completion percentage as the primary defender, which was even better than his teammate Jeff Okudah, who was the third pick in the draft.
Arnette Almost Quit Football
An interesting tidbit about Damon Arnette is that he almost quit football after his junior season at Ohio State. NFL legend Cris Carter was actually one of the people who were able to talk him out of it and he came back to become a solid contributor for the Buckeyes.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein praised Arnette’s physicality:
“Inside/outside cornerback with NFL size and strength but a lack of fluidity and burst that might make him best-suited as a zone corner. Arnette will be at a disadvantage against vertical jackrabbits and will struggle to stay connected to NFL routes in man. However, he plays with good awareness in space and has the physicality in run support that zone defenses look for. His potential and success could be directly tied to what a team asks of him, which makes his evaluation and grade more of a sliding scale depending upon scheme fit.”
After Okudah and C.J. Henderson were selected, there was a steep drop off in cornerback talent. The Raiders reportedly tried to trade back so they didn’t have to reach for Arnette, but couldn’t find any takers. Arnette will have a real shot at trying to earn a starting job next to Trayvon Mullen. Considering the Raiders have to play Patrick Mahomes twice a year, it’s certainly a risk to start two young cornerbacks. The position will remain a question mark heading into training camp.