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Jon Gruden wants to see big strides from Damon Arnette in 2021

No. 19 overall pick had a rough rookie year

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons
Jon Gruden, Damon Arnette
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Accountability was a subject matter on Monday among Las Vegas Raiders players and coach Jon Gruden as they headed to another offseason without the postseason.

One name that stood out as a player who needs to do a lot in the offseason to prepare for 2021 is 2020 first-round pick Damon Arnette. The No. 19 overall draft pick last April had a brutal rookie season. It was disrupted by multiple injuries (he broke his wrist in training camp and had concussion issues during the season) and he had the coronavirus during the season.

Arnette played in just nine games as a rookie — and when Arnette did play, he didn’t make much of an impact after being expected to be a full-time starter.

On Monday, Gruden had some pointed comments about what the Ohio State product needs to do to help the franchise in 2021.

“He’s got to pick it up. He’s got to get stronger,“ Gruden said. “Availability is a real concern right now, but he has to get in the weight room with Maxx (Crosby) and a lot of these young defensive players. He’s got to prove that he can stay available during these games.

Disappointing rookie season, but very talented young man, though. We did not get all the things we expected from him for a lot of the reasons I just listed.”

In reality, the entire Las Vegas secondary was a disappointment for various reasons in 2020.

So, it may be unfair to point to a rookie cornerback as the center of the problem, but Gruden’s comments make it clear the Raiders are expecting more from Arnette moving forward. Expect the new defensive coordinator hire to have getting more from the first rounder product as a top priority.