The Las Vegas Raiders secondary has taken a bit of a beating this season. Damon Arnette, Keisean Nixon and Johnathan Abram have all missed games. In Week 9, Trayvon Mullen had to leave the game with a hamstring issue. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like any of them have suffered injuries that will derail their season.
However, the Raiders have decided to add some more depth to the secondary. The team announced that they’ve signed defensive back Rashaan Gaulden to the practice squad.
Gaulden came into the NFL as a third-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2018. He played there for a little over a season before getting cut halfway through the 2019 season. He eventually signed with the New York Giants and played one game with them. He was cut by them this past offseason and hasn’t found a new team until now.
He’s played in 25 career games but has never started. Gaulden has 20 career combined tackles with no interceptions. He can play safety and cornerback.
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Arnette Should Be Back Soon
Heading into Week 9, it looked like Damon Arnette was going to make his return from injury. However, the Raiders didn’t put him on the field yet as he recovers from wrist surgery. They were able to pull off a win without him but there’s no doubt they’d like to have their first-round pick back.
Head coach Jon Gruden revealed on Monday that Arnette should be practicing this week and that will bode well for his chances of playing against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. That would certainly give a struggling defense a bit of a boost.
Isaiah Johnson Has More Work to Do
While the Raiders didn’t have Arnette on Sunday, they did get a gutsy performance from second-year cornerback Isaiah Johnson. He made two strong defensive plays to help seal the game for Las Vegas. He showed a lot of promise but Gruden believes Johnson still needs work.
“He is still a work in progress, but he is making progress,” Gruden said Monday. “Still some things he needs to clean up.”
Johnson has all the athletic traits you’d want to see from a cornerback and he’s clearly getting better. If he can continue to grow, he could be a really strong player for the Raiders. Regardless, he’s just excited that he can get more playing time.
“I will say this, knowing that this is my first game playing that many snaps for my defense and for my team—it was great to have that support, that encouragement, that love from every single one of my teammates,” Johnson said Sunday. “The energy, the beginning, the end of the game. Even in that last moment, the energy and the way we came together on that last play, especially during the review, I loved it. Because I knew my team believed in us and we knew we were going to win that game.”