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Mock draft: Raiders’ road to cornerback CJ Henderson

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The key is getting above Atlanta

Vanderbilt v Florida
C.J. Henderson
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The ideal situation for the Raiders in the draft is to pick a wide receiver at No. 12 and then grab a cornerback at No 19.

The cornerback of their choice will likely be Florida’s C.J. Henderson. He is widely considered as the second best cornerback behind Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah. They are the only cornerbacks who are considered sure things in this draft.

Other cornerbacks, including LSU’s Kristian Fulton, TCU’s Jeff Gladney, Clemson’s A.J. Terrell and Utah’s Jaylon Johnson are possibilities at No. 19, but they may be stretches at that spot and need more development time than Okudah and Henderson.

While Henderson would be perfect for the Raiders at No. 19, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be available at that spot.

If the Raiders want Henderson and complete a first-round haul of a top receiver and the second-best cornerback, they will likely to jump ahead of Atlanta at No. 16.

The Falcons badly need a cornerback and is a likely landing spot for Henderson. If the Raiders want Henderson, they will have to get aggressive.

The problem for the Raiders is the team ahead of Atlanta at No. 15 is the Denver Broncos. They may not want to do a favor for an AFC West rival. Even in the draft, trades between division rivals are rare. Of the 38 draft trades last season, only one (Minnesota and Detroit) was among division rivals.

If the Broncos were to bite, the Raiders would likely have to send their top third-round pick, No. 80, to Denver as part of the deal. So, it would cost No. 19 and No. 80 to get a chance at Henderson. The Broncos could be interested in the deal because it would then give them picks No. 77, 80, 83 and 95 in the third round. That would be huge trade-up power.

Therefore, maybe, it would be worth the call for the Raiders in an attempt to secure Henderson.

Would I do this deal if I were the Raiders? You bet. Get a top player when you can.