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Going for 2: Cornerback edition

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NCAA Football: Florida State at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we looked at the current state of the CB room for the Raiders defense. Today we will take a more in-depth look at some potential targets who could be added to pair across from Trayvon Mullen.

Paul Guenther’s defense requires corners who can play press man coverage first and foremost. Of course CBs have to be able to do a variety of things well in order to survive in the NFL. Lastly, Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden want guys who have a competitive personality with effort that jumps off the tape.

Let’s take a look at an impending free agent and incoming rookie to see if they could be Raider targets this offseason:

Byron Jones - 2020 Free Agent

Byron Jones flashed glimpses of Pro Bowl caliber play in 2018. This year wasn’t so kind to the cover man, who was beat often in the first half of the season. He tightened up down the stretch, however, and put some wow plays on tape.

At only 27 years old, he could be a highly sought after free agent come April. At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds with insane athletic measurables, Jones has recently started to put it together as an NFL corner. He was drafted as a project after blowing up the combine with freaky jumping ability and agility testing. Since then, it has taken him the majority of his NFL career to put it together.

There was a stretch of games last season where Jones was one of the best CBs in football. He just needs to become more consistent and could be a shutdown corner. He has the versatility to play outside or inside and has experience playing a large number of special teams snaps for a starting CB (which speaks to his toughness and love of football).

The Raiders might have to make some moves to create extra cap space to feel comfortable signing Jones, who will command a pretty penny in free agency. His familiarity with Rich Bisaccia could lure him to the Raiders.

Bryce Hall - 2020 Draft Target

At one point last year, many were naming Hall as one of the best CBs in all of college football. The talented defensive back opted to return for his senior year of college, but was unable to finish his final year of eligibility after injuring his ankle in early October.

Hall has rare size for the position, not so much his height and weight (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) but his build is more reminiscent of a strong safety than a corner. Equally comfortable playing from off alignment of press position, Hall seems to almost always find the ball in the air. Back in 2018, he led the nation with 22 passes defensed.

There are Hall detractors, however, who wonder if he has the short-area agility and change of direction skills needed to play CB in the NFL. His range and ball skills are unquestionable though, and if he doesn’t work out on the outside, he would be capable of playing deep safety with his ball-hawking ability.

The injury and his potentially average athletic testing numbers could see Hall take a fall in the draft. If he’s there in third round, the Raiders would be hard-pressed not to address the secondary with a player of his caliber.