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Major competition looms at Raiders’ cornerback for 2021 season roster spots

Casey Hayward and Nate Hobbs have added to an already-crowded group in Las Vegas

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers-Training Camp
Czsey Hayward
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders cornerback position is becoming one of the more fascinating units of any position group in the NFL.

We wrote the below post on April 19 after the Raiders added to their crowded cornerback group by signing veteran Rasul Douglas:

Since then, Las Vegas drafted slot cornerback Nate Hobbs of Illinois in the fifth round and signed veteran cornerback Casey Heyward, who played for new Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley the past four seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Raiders now have nine cornerbacks who have a realistic chance of making the 53-man roster in September. However, don’t expect Las Vegas to carry more than six players at the position during the regular season.

So there is going to be big competition for those coveted spots ...

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
Rasul Douglas
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the nine cornerback vying to make the roster:

  • Casey Hayward
  • Nate Hobbs
  • Rasul Douglas
  • Travyon Mullen
  • Damon Arnette
  • Nevin Lawson
  • Amik Robertson
  • Isaiah Johnson
  • Keisean Nixon

Mullen, Arnette, Hayward and probably Douglas are all locks to make the team. Mullen will start opposite Arnette, unless Hayward beats him out. If Arnette does start, Hayward could play the starting slot position.

Hayward is a key because he can help the mostly-young position group on-the-field as be an extension of Bradley’s voice. Expect him to be on the field extensively, either on the outside or in the inside.

Lawson, who is facing a two-game NFL PED suspension to start the season, could be expendable. especially after the Douglas addition. Douglas is a solid veteran backup.

Hayward, Lawson, Robertson and Hobbs will also be in the mix at slot cornerback. But no team will keep four slot cornerbacks. I think one or two of these players could be cut.

Johnson, a fourth-round pick two years ago, and Nixon, a special teams standout, will both be hard-pressed to make the 53-man roster after all of these additions.

The bottom line is, the training camp cornerback competition will be intense in Las Vegas. The key will be for all of these cornerbacks will be staying healthy and to show versatility as the Raiders figure out who to keep in the crowded cornerback room.