Training camp is almost upon the Las Vegas Raiders which means the new coaching staff is going to get its best look yet at the team. It’s been an eventful offseason full of coaching and player movement. With so many new and moving pieces, this could be a great offseason for some young players to try and steal a roster spot.
The secondary is one of the Raiders’ biggest areas of concern with Casey Hayward leaving for the Atlanta Falcons. The team brought in a few notable players in Rock Ya-Sin, Anthony Averett and Darius Phillips. They also added some young players but one of them won’t get a chance to prove himself in training camp. Las Vegas announced that they have waived cornerback Stanford Samuels.
Samuels is entering his third year in the NFL after becoming an undrafted free agent signee of the Green Bay Packers. He has only played in 2 regular season games yet but is still just 23. He’ll be on the Raiders’ radar in the coming months if anything opens up but he’ll have to look for employment elsewhere as teams near the start of training camp.
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Insider Believes Raiders’ Secondary Has Improved
The Raiders were linked to and missed on some big-name free agent cornerbacks like J.C. Jackson, Stephon Gilmore and James Bradberry. The most notable transaction was Hayward leaving as he was the team’s best cornerback last season. While it’s easy to be concerned about the Raiders’ group of cornerbacks, Tashan Reed of The Athletic believes that the group is better and deeper than last season:
In my mind, the Raiders have four starting-caliber corners with Ya-Sin, Averett, Mullen and Hobbs. And though I’m not so sure about Amik Robertson, the Raiders gave him a lot of looks at first-team cornerback during OTAs while Mullen sat out due to injury, so they might believe they have five starting-caliber corners. That’s more than enough depth even in defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s defensive back-heavy system.
Is Raiders’ Secondary Good Enough?
The Raiders’ secondary may have more depth and upside than last year but there are still reasons to be concerned. Unfortunately for Las Vegas, they play in the AFC West, which homes some of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The Raiders will play Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson twice a season each. That’s the toughest slate of quarterbacks any team will have to play this season.
There’s no way to consistently stop such effective playmakers but having great cornerbacks would only help. The Raiders must believe that having a dominant pass rush is the way to slow them down. The team has Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones coming off the edges, which will only help the secondary. That said, the Raiders still need to be able to cover receivers. Trayvon Mullen and Ya-Sin have a ton of potential but still haven’t proven to be shutdown cornerbacks. As they both enter Year 4, now is the time to have a breakout season.
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