There is no denying 2017 was a good class for corners. The Raiders got in on the market at pick 24, grabbing Gareon Conley out of Ohio State. He was the fourth cornerback selected and wasn’t even the first corner taken out of Ohio State. That was Marshon Lattimore at pick 11 to the Saints.
Lattimore has had a tremendous season, but according to Pro Football Focus, as of right now, he is second to the corner chosen with the 27th overall pick; LSU’s Tre’Davious White.
The rookie corner has 4 interceptions on the season along with a forced fumble returned for a touchdown. Up until last week, when Sean Smith got two gift wrapped interceptions from Dak Prescott, no Raiders corner had picked off a pass all season. Tough to win many games that way.
To be fair to Conley, he could ultimately prove to be at this level as well. The first step is getting on the field. He only saw action in two games this season after missing all of training camp with a shin injury and was place on injured reserve earlier this season.
In the meantime, it has got to be frustrating for the Raiders to watch other rookies like White healthy and playing at a high level for their clubs. Add in the injuries to Obi Melifonwu that had him placed on injured reserve twice and it is doubly frustrating. Oh by the way, John Johnson III, who came in at 8th in the rankings, was selected a full round behind Melifonwu and three picks after the Raiders took Eddie Vanderdoes.
Again, we could be talking about how great Conley and Melifonwu turned out by this time next year. But their absences contributed to the fact that the whole team is now thinking ‘maybe next year’.
It also brings back memories of the injuries that kept players like DJ Hayden, Karl Joseph, Mario Edwards Jr, and Clive Walford from playing up to their potential early in their careers.