The Las Vegas Raiders are heading into the 2020 NFL Draft with a glaring need at cornerback. Trayvon Mullen showed promise in 2019, but he can’t cover every wide receiver on the field by himself. The team struck out in free agency and will now look to the draft to fill the need. With two first-round picks, the Raiders could find a potential starter early.
If cornerback Jaylon Johnson out of Utah State is to be believed, it sounds like he’ll be wearing silver and black very soon. When asked who he thought was going to draft him on the Stick to Football Podcast, he said that his hunch is telling him that the Raiders are going to draft him.
There’s no doubt that the Raiders have looked into Johnson because of their need at cornerback. He also might be just what the team is looking for.
Johnson Fits What Mike Mayock Likes
It doesn’t take a lot of research to know that Raiders general manager Mike Mayock likes big cornerbacks. He drafted two cornerbacks in the 2019 draft. Trayvon Mullen and Isaiah Johnson are both 6’2 and athletic. They also targeted Byron Jones in free agency, who is another tall cornerback.
Jaylon Johnson fits the profile as he’s 6’0 and plays with a lot of physicality. Here’s what Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had to say about him:
Boundary bully with an improving skill set to clamp down on WR1s and limit their exposure to the football. Johnson is built for press, with the size, length and athleticism to force receivers to work harder getting into their routes. His eagerness to stay tight to the route leads to inconsistent balance and positioning from time to time, but his foot quickness and agility allow for rapid recoveries. He’s equipped to play the deep ball but needs to fully prove himself in that area. He’s a physical press corner with off-man ability whose anticipation and ball skills should continue to help him make plays as a CB1 and first-round pick.
Johnson isn’t a perfect prospect, but he’s perfect for what the Raiders are trying to build. However, he probably wouldn’t be ready to start day one, so he might not be worth taking at number 19 in the first round.
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Raiders Should Trade Back If They Like Johnson
C.J. Henderson and Jeff Okudah are the only cornerbacks who are likely ready to start from day one. Okudah could be gone in the top five picks, but Henderson could be available at number 12. The problem is that the Raiders seem pretty keen on addressing wide receiver with their first first-round pick and Henderson probably won’t fall to 19.
It’s questionable if there is any cornerback outside of Henderson or Okudah who the Raiders would be willing to draft at 19. If Jaylon Johnson is the play, Las Vegas should consider trading back in the draft. This could be a win-win for the team because going this route could possibly get them a second-round pick. Mayock likes second-round picks, so this would be the best-case scenario for the Raiders.