The cornerback position was actually a solid position group for the Raiders in 2018. The emergence of Gareon Conley leads many to think this could be the start of a shut down corner for years to come. Daryl Worley and Rashaan Melvin were also solid for Silver and Black showcasing physicality week in and week out. The Raiders defense was able to shut down the opponents number 1 WR most weeks so this might not be a position that needs to be addressed.
On the other hand you can never have too many cover guys and the NFL is more of a passing league than ever. Teams who stockpile corners seem to have pretty good defenses and there are teams who despite having great secondaries seem to select a CB in the first round every other year. Here are a few names to keep an eye on during the on field testing at the Combine.
Amani Oruwariye, Penn State
Height: 6’1 5/8
Weight: 206 lbs
Paul Guenther likes his corners to have length so they can disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage. Oruwariye is a great athlete with great size who was able to post consistent ball production at Penn State in 2018. Despite only starting for 1 season the Nittany Lion got the call to the Senior Bowl where he put together a great week competing against some of the best college athletes.
Oruwariye is experiencing a fast climb up draft boards and Gruden’s staff has the inside information on how well he’ll be able to pick up their scheme. The top corners will already be selected when the Raiders pick late in the first round. If Oruwariye dominates the on field drills this could be the direction they go.
Justin Layne, Michigan State
Height: 6’1 3/4
Weight: 192 lbs
Layne has even more length boasting great height and outstanding wingspan for the position (over 80 inches). He is a press man corner through and through who bullies wideouts and is able to find the ball in the air. The only problem is Layne only has questionable ball skills, intercepting only 3 passes in 3 seasons but getting his hands on 27 passes.
Speaking to reporters at the combine, Layne thinks he is underrated but seems confident that his performance today will gain him some attention. With his size and production he only needs average athletic testing numbers to be drafted on day 2.
Jordan Miller, Washington
Height: 6’0 5/8
Weight: 186 lbs
Miller is a more developmental prospect but has as high a ceiling as any corner in this draft. He needs to improve his tackling and there are some blown coverages on tape but when it comes to mirroring the receivers release and speed down field, Miller has things you just can’t coach.
His tape against Ohio State showed a player who was comfortable running with the speedsters Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, both of whom ran in the 4.3 range two days ago. Miller has a chance to match that if his game speed carries over to the athletic testing. He’s a work in progress but very similar to Gareon Conley: a cover man with solid length who can run with anybody but needs to improve his physicality. Miller will be available in rounds 4-5 should the Raiders seek to improve the secondary later in the draft.