Raiders Draft Radar 2013: Cornerback

Harry How

Which cornerback prospects in the 2012 draft are most likely to show up on the Raiders draft radar?

We move on to the cornerbacks as I work through the positions and players on the Raiders draft radar. Along with the player, I include the round in which the Raiders would be likely to take the player should he be available with their pick in that round.

Like a few postions on the Raiders defense, cornerback was at one point this off-season, in a dire state of emergency. The team has since brought back Phillip Adams and Joselio Hanson and signed free agents Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins. Those four help tremendously in the short term but all of them are on one-year deals as the team looks to prepare for the long term. That long term starts in this draft and finding a cornerback of the future is of utmost importance.

Here are those cornerbacks who show up on the Raiders draft radar:

Desmond Trufant, Washington - Round 1

He has the bloodlines - his brother Marcus is an All Pro corner in the NFL - but even last last season, Trufant was considered a second tier prospect. Then the postseason came and he his star began to rise. First and foremost, he was the best cornerback prospect during Senior Bowl week. And since he played for the North, Dennis Allen and the Raiders staff got to watch him light it up. Later came the combine when Trufant blew scouts away in positions drills with his crisp breaks and fluid footwork. Raiders defensive backs coach Johnny Lynn worked with him at the combine to get yet another up close look at Trufant. This four-year starter didn't have a lot of interceptions in his career but that had a lot to do with not seeing the ball thrown his way a lot. He saw the ball the most as a Junior and the result was career best numbers across the board including 14 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. They almost stayed away from him entirely as a senior and yet he still managed to knock down 9 passes with 1 interception. He is considered a mid-late first round pick so for the Raiders to take him, it would only if they were able to trade down in the first round.

DJ Hayden, Houston - Round 2

Following the 2011 season, Hayden had the NFL and college football's attention as one of the best corners prospects out there. He was seen as the perfect balance of speed, instincts, and physicality. Nine games into his senior season, he was proving the scouts correct with 8 passes defended and 4 interceptions returned for 171 yards. That all came crashing down when he suffered a torn blood vessel in his heart. It is a condition that almost always a killer. He survived the ordeal and doctors say it was a freak occurrence that has no risk of happening again. Now that he is healed, the injury is being looked at as a positive ie "If he can survive THAT, he can survive anything." Reggie McKenzie likes tough SOB's and surviving a torn blood vessel in your heart makes you a tough SOB from where I'm sitting. The Raiders had him in for a visit to get a closer look at him. A couple weeks ago, Mike Mayock jumped Hayden up from a late round prospect into his top five and as of this week, he has Hayden as his number one corner. I'm not ready to go all in on that but we'll see come draft day if he lasts into round two. We'll also see if the Raiders manage to trade down and reel in a pick in the second round.

Logan Ryan, Rutgers - Round 3

A lot of people don't think Logan Ryan will make it out of the second round. I do. Not because Ryan isn't good but because this draft is deep at corner so there will still be solid corners well into round 3 and perhaps even deeper into the draft. At 6-0, 190 pounds, Ryan has good size. He also has great numbers since become the starter two seasons ago. He had good number as a junior with 67 tackles, 13 passes defended, and 3 interceptions. Then he improved upon those numbers across the board as a senior with 94 tackles, 17 passes defended, and 4 interceptions. He is considered a safe pick which usually means scouts think he doesn't have much upside. One reason for doubt is his lackluster 40-yard dash rime (4.53). That was the kind of thing that was incredibly important to Al Davis but Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen care more about what they see on tape than what they see in shorts.

David Amerson, North Carolina State - Round 4

Talk about having good size, Amerson is one of the biggest corners in this draft. At 6-3, 195 pounds, some believe he might ultimately be destined for safety. Either one would be fine with the Raiders; they need both. His numbers in college as a corner say he should stay there. He had 12 interceptions his junior year - his first as a starter. Then as a senior, he had 13 passes defended and 5 interceptions. His 4.59 40-yard dash leaves a lot to be desired and could cause a lot of teams to shy away from him. But at some point, a team must take a chance on a guy with his size and production. The Raiders could be just the team.

Ryan Travis, Tulane - Round 7-FA

Travis barely shows up on the draft map and by most accounts is not seen as a draftable player. His numbers are actually pretty good though and there are teams who have shown interest, including the Raiders. The 5-11, 169 pound corner has totaled 6 interceptions and 21 passes defended over the past two seasons for the Green Wave. He says he models his game after Charles Woodson because of his versatility. If he has any Woodson qualities to him, Reggie McKenzie should certainly like that. He had Woodson in Green Bay for six Pro Bowl and All Pro seasons. Aim high, Ryan. Big shots are just little shots who keep shooting.

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