Raiders Again Urged to Add 5-Time Pro Bowler to Fill Post-Draft Roster Hole

Raiders potential signee Stephon Gilmore

Getty Raiders potential signee Stephon Gilmore

Heading into the NFL draft, the Raiders were in something of an odd position. They needed a quarterback, but were unwilling to mortgage the future for one. They needed skill-position help, but only needed depth there, as they already had some good frontline players in the mix. They needed offensive line help and, well, they answered that bell, with two of their first three picks going to big blockers.

But they needed cornerback help, with Nate Hobbs the only reliable veteran option on the roster, as the Raiders sort through how to use erratic cover man Jack Jones and disappointing Jakorian Bennett, who had a rough go in his rookie year after he was a fourth-rounder in 2023.

The Raiders added two more option to the pile in the draft, picking Decamerion Richardson out of Mississippi State in the fourth round, and then taking MJ Devonshire out of Pitt in the seventh round. But that’s still not quite going to cut it for a defense that is expected to carry a heavy load in his upcoming year.

And so Bleacher Report is recycling one of the more sensible suggestions for the Raiders in what’s left of free agency: veteran corner Stephon Gilmore, who remains unsigned despite a nearly unmatched resume and a solid showing in Dallas with the Cowboys last year.

Raiders Need Cornerback Help

B/R sees the need the Raiders have and connects the dot to Gilmore, who was listed at No. 3 in the site’s ranking of “10 Best NFL Free Agents Available After 2024 Draft.” The Vikings and Panthers were also tabbed potential spots for Gilmore, along with the Raiders.

“No matter where he lands, Gilmore should be a locked-in starter. He surrendered 6.9 yards per target with Dallas in 2023, which was his worst mark over the last six years—and it’s still pretty darn good,” writer David Kenyon noted.

Given the Raiders’ need for a veteran presence opposite Hobbs, Gilmore makes ample sense. Generally speaking, it seems that the Raiders and just about every team in the league needs a refresher on just who this guy is—it’s remarkable he is still unsigned.

In his career, Gilmore has amassed five Pro Bowl appearances, two first-team All-Pro selections, a Super Bowl ring and a Defensive Player of the Year award to his credit.

Stephon Gilmore Returning From Shoulder Injury

Sure, Gilmore is 33 and has 12 years of NFL wear and tear on him, which includes a shoulder injury that he tried to play through back in January. He subsequently had surgery on the shoulder, though he should be ready for the start of the 2024 season.

Despite all that, Gilmore has shown he can still be a shutdown corner. He allowed a passer rating of 82.7 when balls were thrown his way, which is the highest of his career but still a dependable number for a starting corner. As a team, the Cowboys allowed an 84.3 passer rating, which was ninth-best in the NFL.

The Raiders could see improved play from Jones this year, who is in a better situation after a tumultuous career with the Patriots, where he was arrested and charged with bringing guns into the airport and subsequently released last year for disciplinary reasons.

They could see Bennett bounce back after his rough rookie showing.

But they might not. That’s the problem. And Gilmore would ensure that the Raiders defense will be able to withstand the ups and downs those two might present.



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