Former Raiders Starting CB & High Draft Pick Lands With Cowboys

mike mccarthy

Getty Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy.

Trayvon Mullen looked like one of a number of former Las Vegas Raiders who were drafted high but couldn’t find sustained success in the NFL. Now, after getting cut by the Arizona Cardinals, Mullen was claimed off of waivers December 14 by the Dallas Cowboys.

Mullen, a cornerback who was picked No. 40 overall in the second round of the 2019 draft, will get another chance to hone his craft, this time on the league’s second-best passing defense.


When healthy, he’s been a solid cornerback. He started 31 games for the Raiders over his three seasons with the team, making four interceptions and 134 combined tackles. But he appeared in only five games in 2021 because of unrelated foot and toe injuries and was unavailable for some of the 2022 preseason. By then, the Raiders had installed a new general manager, Dave Ziegler, and head coach, Josh McDaniels, who remade parts of the roster, including at cornerback.

The Raiders traded Mullen, 25, to the Cardinals in August for a 2023 seventh-round conditional pick. For Arizona, he appeared in eight games, playing an average of the 26% of the team’s defensive snaps, forcing one fumble, defending three passes and hitting the quarterback once.

Raiders Have Missed on Draft Picks

Mullen joins a handful of high Raiders draft picks who have not been able to make their mark in the NFL. Offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood was the Raiders’ No. 17 overall pick in 2021, but he also was offloaded by the Ziegler-McDaniels regime after a rookie season in which he started all 17 games. He has played just 10 offensive snaps for the Chicago Bears this season. And defensive back Johnathan Abram, who was drafted No. 27 overall in 2019, also was waived after the 2021 season. He got picked up and cut by the Green Bay Packers before eventually landing with the Seattle Seahawks. But he’s taken just four snaps for his new team.

The Raiders had four picks among the first 40 of the 2019 draft. However, RB Josh Jacobs, the NFL’s rushing leader, and DE Clelin Ferrell are the only members of that group still on the Raiders. Ferrell likely won’t be back given that Las Vegas did not pick up fifth-year option before the season and was the subject of trade rumors ahead of the deadline. Jacobs’ option was not picked up, either, and will become one of the league’s top free agents in 2023.

Drafted at No. 4 overall, Ferrell was selected ahead of defenders such as the Carolina Panthers’ Brian Burns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Devin White, both of whom went to the Pro Bowl in 2021. And Abram was selected ahead of CB Byron Murphy, a top starter for the Cardinals, and San Francisco 49ers All-Pro WR Deebo Samuels, who had 31 combined rushing and receiving touchdowns last year.

And there’s Mullen, who was drafted 11 spots ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles‘ A.J. Brown, a receiver who already has topped 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns this season with four games to play.

Raiders Among Most Unhealthy Teams in NFL

It’s been a tough year for the Raiders for a number of reasons. The team was supposed to be a playoff contender but is sitting at 5-8 and needs a miracle to get into the playoffs. There are a lot of factors as to why the team has disappointed but a litany of injuries certainly hasn’t helped.

According to Matt Provencher of Fox Sports, the Raiders are the seventh-most unhealthy team in the NFL this season.

“The Raiders have also been dealing with their own injuries. Ranked just above the Patriots as the No. 7 most unhealthy team with a 64.8 BUS ranking,” wrote in his December 13 story. “They are working through injuries to impact players such as Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs. Remember, even as guys play through injuries and make it onto the field, they can have diminished performance based on how their health affects them.”

Read More