We laid out the winners from the Raiders 2019 draft. Let’s keep it going with the losers. No offense to these guys. I’m not calling them “Losers”, but merely those who came out on the wrong end of things with what the Raiders did in the draft.
Daryl Worley, Nick Nelson
Placing a 2nd round RFA tender on Worley would suggest the Raiders really like him. Then they went out and signed Nevin Lawson, who has starting experience, in free agency and who is expected to compete with Worley for a starting job. That alone didn’t suggest Worley was at serious risk of losing his starting job. They also signed Lamarcus Joyner, who they say will play mostly at nickel corner.
With Gareon Conley as the number one cornerback, it looked like the Raiders had a pretty deep group of corners. Then with their pick at the top of the second round, they went cornerback Trayvon Mullen. And when Mayock talked about the addition of Mullen and 4th round pick Isaiah Johnson after the draft, his words made Worley sound like a bit of an afterthought.
“They’re perfect in what we do, we’re a press corner team. Jimmy O’Neil, our defensive back coach is happier than I’ve ever seen him. So now we have some long, press corners to go along with Gareon [Conley] and everybody else we have. Gareon Conley, [Daryl] Worley and all our guys. Bottom line is we’re ecstatic with those corners.”
See that catch there? From “Gareon and everybody else” to ‘Oh, whoops, I better put our other 2018 starter in that sentence too.’
Last year’s fourth round pick Nick Nelson was just inside the bubble as the favorite for that fifth cornerback spot prior to the draft. Now with the cornerback group pretty crowded, Nelson is on the outside looking in.
A lot of guys in the media were running with every rumor and rumble about the Raiders QB interest. Gruden was asked about Kyler Murray and he said complimentary things about him. The national media ran with it as proof he wanted Kyler Murray and that led to many opining whether the Raiders would even trade up to number one overall to get him. Some mock drafted reflected that as well.
A couple days before the draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay said the Raiders liked Murray more than Carr. We can’t really ever prove him wrong because Murray went number one overall to the Cardinals, but the Raiders certainly weren’t trying to trade up for him. That wasn’t nearly as comical as NFL.com’s Chad Reuter who had the Raiders trading up to second overall for Drew Lock. Lock ended up going at 42nd overall to the Broncos.
There was also Dwayne Haskins who many in the national media said the Raiders were crushing on. The Raiders did like him, but that doesn’t mean they had any intention of drafting him. Ian Rapoport said on draft day that the Raiders were moving Haskins up their draft board. Whatever that means.
Rapoport in particular really grabbed ahold of a scout source of his telling him that the Raiders had cleared out their entire scouting department not knowing who to trust. This just got him clowned by Mike Mayock in his press conferences, with Mayock pointing to Rapoport’s source as proof there was a leak and calling his report that all the scouts were cleared out “erroneous” in his post draft press conference.
Carrier was signed last offseason to be the second tight end along with Jared Cook. That never really happened. Darren Waller was brought in and activated in week 13. Through the first 12 weeks, Carrier has 5 catches for 38 yards. Waller had 6 catches for 75 yards in the final three games alone.
Since then the team has signed Luke Willson and then drafted Foster Moreau in the fourth round of the draft. Willson worked with Tom Cable in Seattle and Moreau would have to look downright terrible not to make the team, leaving Carrier’s time in Oakland likely coming to an end.
Harris was ecstatic to sign a 2-year deal with the Raiders in leu of an RFA tender. He came on strong at safety for the Raiders late last season, but since he signed his deal he has watched the Raiders add a whole host of safeties. First it was Lamarcus Joyner, though with Joyner playing a lot of nickel corner, Harris still figured to see the field a lot. Then they added Curtis Riley and Jordan Richards. Still, those two were on one-year deals and didn’t have any better chance of winning the safety job.
It was the selection of Johnathan Abram at 27 overall in the first round that may change things for Harris. Abram is a strong safety through and through which is where Harris figured to line up primarily. Harris’s other primary job is that of flyer/gunner on special teams. The Raiders have told Abram they want him to do that as well. Harris made his first start on defense and got his first (and second) career interception. He will once again have to play out of his mind this offseason and training camp if he is to return to the defense again this season over the team’s newest first round pick.
Key was always meant to be a situational pass rusher. The Raiders drafted him while Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin were entrenched as the starters. Key would become a starter replacing the irreplaceable Mack and then watched his mentor Irvin get waived as well at midseason.
Despite the playing time he received, Key managed just one sack. The Raiders added Benson Mayowa as the only somewhat proven edge rusher now on the team. They figured to add an edge rusher early in the draft. Not only did they add Clelin Ferrell at 4th overall, but they later added Maxx Crosby early on day three and then finished out the draft with a third edge rusher in Quinton Bell.
Key looked great in last year’s training camp, but that proved to be fool’s gold come the season. He needed to pack on weight and get a lot stronger. Not to mention, his crazy bend didn’t mean much with his inability to finish the job and get to the quarterback. And right now, he could be in a battle with Crosby to even be the team’s situational pass rusher.