Based on Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos, it was clear that the Las Vegas Raiders needed more help at cornerback. Amik Robertson was tasked with filling in for the injured Trayvon Mullen and struggled. Teddy Bridgewater picked on him all game before he was benched and is the second lowest-graded cornerback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
Mullen won’t be eligible to return from Injured Reserve until after Week 7 against the Philadelphia Eagles and he could be out longer than that. WIth Mullen out, the Raiders have decided to sign veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant, according to his agent Doug Hendrickson.
Trufant was just recently released by the New Orleans Saints after playing in two games. The 2013 first-round pick made his biggest impact during his seven-year stint with the Atlanta Falcons. In 2015, he was named to the Pro Bowl and was playing like one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. After his time with the Falcons, Trufant landed with the Detroit Lions but injuries limited him to just six games. He’ll now need to prove to the Raiders he has some juice left in the tank.
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Trufant Should Be Familiar With Raiders Defense
Familiarity with the system that defensive coordinator Gus Bradley runs has been a common theme with recent signings the Raiders have made. The Trufant signing is no different. Though he’s never played under Bradley, he should be very familiar with Cover 3.
Trufant played under Dan Quinn for five seasons in Atlanta, including his only Pro Bowl season. Quinn was Bradley’s successor when he left the Seattle Seahawks and the two run a very similar defense. The verbiage will likely be different but it should be easy for Trufant to be plugged in right away. Bradley has had a lot of success with bringing in players familiar with his system this year so it’ll be interesting to see how he uses Trufant.
Casey Hayward Dominating
A reason to be intrigued by the Trufant signing is the fact that the Raiders already took a chance on a former Pro Bowl cornerback in his 30s and resurrected his career. Casey Hayward was signed to a meager one-year deal late in the offseason but has arguably been the best cornerback in the NFL this season. According to Pro Football Focus, he’s gone 237 coverage snaps without allowing a touchdown, which is the best in the league.
At 32-years-old and coming off a down year, nobody expected Hayward to have this much left in the tank. He may be the best addition the Raiders made this offseason. There was a point in free agency where it looked like no team was all that interested in signing him. 31 NFL teams are likely kicking themselves after seeing how he’s performed. He’s only making $2.5 million this year but is playing like a cornerback who should be making $10+ million. Even though he’s getting up there in age, Hayward could get one last sizable contract this offseason if he continues to play at an elite level.