Despite the fact that the Las Vegas Raiders have used a first-round pick on a defensive back in four of the last five drafts, they might just have to do it once again in 2021. For whatever reason, the team can’t figure out how to draft quality defensive backs. The last Pro Bowl defensive back the Raiders drafted in the first round was Nnamdi Asomugha, who was drafted with the 31st pick in 2003.
In the upcoming draft, Las Vegas needs to find another starting safety. Even though Johnathan Abram was disappointing this season, he’s got one of the starting spots. However, the free safety position is wide open. The Raiders might wait until the second round to address the need and could find some good talent. One name to keep an eye on is former Syracuse safety Andre Cisco. On a recent Instagram story, Cisco suggested he’d like to play for the silver and black.
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Cisco Is Likely a 2nd Round Prospect
On paper, Cisco is exactly what the Raiders need. He caught 13 interceptions in 24 games at Syracuse. Las Vegas only caught 10 interceptions as an entire team in 2020 and only nine in 2019. The team needs to start creating turnovers and Cisco is guy who can do that.
Plus, they probably can wait on him until the second round. According to Pro Football Focus is the 48th best prospect in the entire draft class.
“Cisco is a straight-up roller coaster at the safety position,” PFF wrote. “With 4.3 speed, Cisco had 26 combined picks and pass breakups in 24 career games. He also gave up six touchdowns in nine games in 2019 before tearing his ACL two games into 2020.”
As PFF pointed out, Cisco isn’t without risk. He certainly plays with a level of reckless abandon. Also, the torn ACL is a concern. However, Cisco has elite speed and the Raiders don’t have a very fast secondary right now. It might be worth taking a risk on an elite athlete with strong ball skills.
Other Potential Safety Targets
Defensive line is likely the biggest need for the Raiders. They need to start creating a pass rush. Finding a starting safety is another big priority for the team. It’s not out of the question that they could take a safety with their first-round pick.
Trevon Moehrig-Woodard out of TCU would probably be the only safety worth taking that early in the draft. He’s got good size at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds and led college safeties in pass breakups over the last two years, per PFF. He’d be a welcome addition for the Raiders.
Over the last two drafts, the team has reached too often. They need to be patient and take players where they should be drafted. General manager Mike Mayock’s seat has to be warming up after a disastrous 2020 draft class. He needs to nail the 2021 class or the Raiders could make a move. Jon Gruden isn’t going anywhere so Mayock could be the fall guy if the team has another losing season.