For a guy who’s bounced around to five teams in four years, there is no shortage of confidence in Raiders newest cornerback, Rashaan Melvin.
The former Northern Illinois product entered the league as an undrafted free agent and it took a few stops on several teams before he found a home with the Colts in 2016 where he says the coaching staff “gave me the opportunity to be the guy that I wanted to be and knew I could be which is a number one defensive back.”
He went through a lot he never stopped believing in his abilities.
“It’s just experience, you know. I’ve been cut four times. I’ve been in four different locker rooms and I’ve seen I was able to gain my teammates’ trust, my coaches’ trust and the organization’s trust as well. My confidence grows over time because there’s not a lot of players that can say they’ve been cut four times and end up in a situation where I’m at today. It was perfect timing. My work ethic, the way I approached the game and where I approach my job, my business, it speaks for itself.”
A pivotal moment for Melvin came in the 2016 season prior to the Colts’ week 11 game against the Steelers. Head coach John Pagano needed a corner to step up and take on All Pro receiver Antonio Brown. Melvin said he was the man for the job.
“It was all about going in there into the coach’s office and letting him know that ‘hey, I’m ready for this opportunity, I’ve been practicing, I’ve been preparing the whole season and let me do what I have to do to not just prove to myself that I’m right, but to everybody else around the NFL, that hey, this guy’s for real’ and for him giving me the opportunity,
“I’m grateful for it because I lived up to all the expectations of they had for me and even more. So, I’m just looking forward to continuing to improve my game, and continue to be the best player I can be. I’m here to dominate the league and it might be time for some new faces at the cornerback position. That’s my take on that and I’m excited for it.”
Melvin held his own against Brown and it earned him the respect of his coaches. He started every game in which he played for the Colts from that point forward, a total of 19 games before a hand injury ended his 2017 season.
The hand is fully healed according to Melvin and after signing a one-year deal with the Raiders for a respectful $6.5 million, he has set his goals for outplaying it.
“The goal is to be the best player I can be, first team All-Pro,” Melvin added.
And even with his somewhat limited starting experience, Melvin is not shy about playing a leadership role with the Raiders, who figure to have a secondary filled with young players. After all, he is, at this point, the expected starter opposite Gareon Conley, who missed all of his rookie training camp last year and appeared in just two games before landing on injured reserve.
“I think he’s a great young guy. Full of potential,” Melvin said of Conley. “I know he wasn’t able to play last year, but this year I know he’s ready to step up and be that corner opposite and make some plays as well as the safety Karl Joseph. . . For me to come in and help those guys out and show those guys exactly what it takes to be a great secondary, I think that’s what we need, that’s what I’m here for, that’s why signed up for this.”
He certainly has the swagger you want in a corner. If he has the game to match, he will parlay this one year deal into a larger investment. Either from the Raiders or someone else.