The Las Vegas Raiders have taken a liking to drafting players in the first round that nobody expects to go that high. While that can work for some teams, the Raiders have missed badly on a few first-round picks in recent years. When the team selected Damon Arnette in the first round of last year’s draft, nobody saw it coming.
It was expected that he would be a second-round pick at the earliest. With a little over a season under his belt, Arnette has done little to calm down the critics. In fact, things are looking worse each game. He’s the Raiders’ third cornerback behind Trayvon Mullen and Casey Hayward. Mullen went down early in Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, which led to Arnette getting more snaps. There was one particular play that stood out but not in a good way.
Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams completely juked out the cornerback and got wide open. Luckily for Arnette, quarterback Justin Herbert overthrew the ball. Despite that, he couldn’t escape the wrath of the internet over the play.
It was another rough outing for Arnette, who had to leave the game early with a groin injury.
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Arnette Could Be on Hot Seat Soon
Arnette already lost a starting spot but could now be in danger of much worse. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has no allegiance to the cornerback as he wasn’t with the Raiders when they drafted him. His job is to make sure that the defense is in the best position to win. That could require him to move Arnette further down the depth chart.
Hopefully, the injuries to Hayward and Mullen aren’t too serious. As long as those two are good to go, the Raiders should be solid at cornerback. That said, the team should consider making Amik Robertson the third cornerback. They tried playing him at nickel corner last season after playing on the outside in college. That didn’t work out so they moved him back on the outside. He didn’t make any glaring mistakes against the Chargers and could be a better option behind Mullen and Hayward.
What Will Raiders Do if Arnette Continues to Struggle?
The Raiders are going to have to face a harsh reality soon with some of their first-round misses. The team can’t use up valuable roster spots on struggling players forever. Arnette does deserve more time to figure things out but his struggles are becoming very obvious.
Hayward has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL this year but is 32-years-old. The Raiders aren’t likely to give him a long-term deal this upcoming offseason. In a perfect world, Arnette would develop into a solid starting cornerback next to Mullen. That could be the team’s duo for years to come. However, he’s shown little to indicate that he can be a dependable starter in the NFL. He needs to start stepping and it needs to happen fast.