There has been a major trend — yes, even more than drafting Clemson and Alabama players — that was continued by the Las Vegas Raiders during last weekend’s 2021 NFL Draft.
This year, Raiders drafted three defensive backs in the first four rounds and four overall to highlight their seven-pick draft class. They took TCU’s Trevon Moehrig in the second round, Virginia Tech box safety/linebacker Divine Deablo in the third round and Missouri box safety Tyree Gillespie in the fourth round. Las Vegas added Illinois slot cornerback Nate Hobbs in the fifth round,
In the three drafts since Mike Mayock has been the team’s general manager, the Raiders have drafted 10 defensive backs, nine of which came in the first four rounds. That is a major commitment to one area of the team.
With Moehrig, Deablo and Gillespie all very likely secured on the 2021 Las Vegas roster (Hobbs will probably need a good training camp to stay off the practice squad), let’s look at where the six other defensive backs recently drafted stand.
Safety Johnathan Abram, first round:
The Deablo and Gillespie picks are an indication that the Raiders aren’t completely sold on Abram. If he continues to struggle, we could see the Raiders quickly make a change at strong safety. That’s rough considering that they used the No. 27 overall pick on Abram two years ago.
Cornerback Trayvon Mullen, second round:
He’s the Raiders’ best cornerback. While he still needs to get better, Mullen is safe.
Cornerback Isaiah Johnson, fourth round:
Johnson saved the win at the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020, but he hasn’t gotten on the field much. I’m not sure if the 2021 draft class adversely affects Johnson, but he needs to have a great training camp to make the roster.
Cornerback Damon Arnette, first round:
Arnette will be on the roster this year. But he struggled as a rookie after being the No. 19 overall pick and he simply needs to get better,
Linebacker/safety Tanner Muse, third round:
The Raiders wanted Muse to be a linebacker after he was a safety at Clemson. He had a poor training camp and was on the injured reserve all season. The Deablo pick seems like the Raiders are not exactly counting on Muse. The best case scenario: both players will be key special teams players in 2021. The worst case scenario: Muse will not make the team, which would be brutal for a second-year, third-round pick.
Cornerback Amik Robertson, fourth round:
He was taken to be the slot cornerback. He played just 35 defensive snaps as a rookie and wasn’t very good when he was on the field. Hobbs may push him for a roster spot.
There probably won’t be room for all of these recently drafted defensive backs in Las Vegas in 2021, meaning that some mistakes have been made in past drafts.