Over the last several years, the Las Vegas Raiders have used a lot of draft capital attempting to fix their defensive secondary. It hasn’t gone particularly well. One of the worst picks the team made was the drafting of Obi Melifonwu in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Despite his high draft status, the safety only played in five games for the Raiders before getting cut. It’s not often that second-round picks with no off-the-field issues only last one season with the team that drafted them. Melifonwu has bounced around the NFL quite a bit and has had trouble staying with one team. His latest attempt will be with the Philadelphia Eagles, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
With training camp just starting up, teams will start getting a better idea of what holes they have on their roster. Perhaps the Eagles think they can unlock Melifonwu’s potential. He’s only played in seven career games and has never caught an interception.
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Jon Gruden Hyped About Raiders’ Secondary
Heading into the season, one of the Raiders’ most important position groups is the defensive backfield. The team has invested a lot into upgrading the group but has yet to see results. This offseason, Las Vegas added second-round pick Trevon Moehrig and signed Casey Hayward. Those two are getting added to a group of two former first-round picks in Damon Arnette and Johnathan Abram, as well as former second-round pick Trayvon Mullen. It still remains to be seen just how good the Raiders’ pass defense will be in 2021 but head coach Jon Gruden is really excited to see them play.
“I’m fired up about the secondary,” Gruden said Tuesday. “If I’m a Raiders fan, I’m coming out here watching practice, I’m going to keep a close eye on this secondary. It should be a strength of ours. If it isn’t, we’ve made some real mistakes.”
New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has a track record of developing great secondaries. With him at the helm of the defense, the Raiders should be in a much better place.
Gruden Praises Team’s Cornerbacks
The Raiders were excited about Arnette heading into last season and even named him a Week 1 starter. However, injuries and inconsistent play derailed his rookie season. Though some are ready to give up on the second-year cornerback, Gruden still has high hopes for him.
“He’s a big part of us moving forward,” Gruden said. “He’s as good a corner as we have talent-wise on this team.”
Gruden also really like the team’s depth at cornerback this season.
“We think he and Trayvon Mullen, Casey Hayward, some of the other people that are in the mix give us depth, competition and some interesting matchups,” Gruden said.
It appears that Mullen is entrenched as one of the starting cornerbacks but the second spot will be a position battle to watch. Hayward is a proven veteran and former Pro Bowler but Arnette has a lot of untapped potential. It will be fascinating to watch.