Since Jon Gruden took over the Las Vegas Raiders, the team has taken chances on former first-round picks that didn’t last with the team that drafted them. That strategy hasn’t always worked, as players like Dion Jordan, Eli Apple, Takk McKinley and Datone Jones never made much of an impact with the team. Despite that fact, the Raiders aren’t going to stop trying.
The team announced on Thursday, June 17, 2021, that they’ve signed former New York Jets first-round pick Darron Lee.
The former Ohio State Buckeye was highly touted coming out of college but instantly struggled in the NFL due to poor pass coverage abilities. He started 36 games for the Jets over three seasons (2016-2018) with the team before they let him walk. Lee couldn’t even find success while being coached under defensive guru Todd Bowles.
Lee joined the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 and won a Super Bowl ring. He played in all 16 regular-season games that year but was inactive for all three of their playoff games. Most recently, Lee played in two games for the Buffalo Bills in 2020 while spending most of the season on their practice squad.
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Raiders Sign De’Vante Bausby & Cut TJ Morrison
Lee is the most notable name the Raiders are bringing in, but they also announced the signing of a veteran cornerback in De’Vante Bausby. He was most recently a member of the Arizona Cardinals, but his most significant time was spent with the Denver Broncos. While with the AFC West rival, Bausby played in 15 games, starting five. He’s also spent time with the Chiefs, Bears and Eagles. It’s interesting that the Raiders decided to sign players who are familiar with two of their biggest division rivals. It’s unlikely that decision was an accident.
To make room for the new players, Las Vegas also revealed that they’ve cut TJ Morrison. The cornerback was an undrafted free agent out of Stony Brook this offseason, and it seems the Raiders didn’t see enough from him to keep him on the roster heading into training camp. The team has many young defensive backs vying for positions, so it was always going to be difficult for Morrison to make the team.
Lee Has Been Suspended Multiple Times in Career
As a former first-round pick, Lee does have upside. However, there are major red flags. He’s been suspended on a number of occasions throughout his career. He was suspended for one game in 2017 for showing up to practice late, according to ESPN. The next season, he was suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, according to Bleacher Report.
He got hit with his third suspension during last year’s offseason, and he had to miss out on the first four games of the season, ESPN’s Field Yates reported. He’s had trouble with the NFL throughout his career, so the Raiders will keep him on a really short leash. With the slightest whiff of a suspension, the team will likely let him go.