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2020 cornerback class struggles at the top

Raiders’ Damon Arnette is part of a rough class

Las Vegas Raiders Training Camp
Damon Arnette
Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

The early returns of the top of the cornerback class of the 2020 NFL draft continues to take hits.

On Monday, ESPN reported that the Jacksonville Jaguars may trade C.J. Henderson, who was the No. 9 overall picks in the draft. The Florida product was the second cornerback taken.

Recently, the Minnesota Vikings released cornerback Jeff Gladney after he was indicted on the felony assault of a women he previously had a relationship. The TCU product, who was the No. 31 pick in the 2020 draft, went unclaimed and he likely won’t get another NFL look unless his legal issues are taken care of.

The Las Vegas Raiders are also well aware of the early struggles of the top cornerback taken in the draft. They used the No. 19 pick in 2020 to take Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette.

Arnette, who was considered a reach at the time of his selection, struggled with injuries as a rookie. He was also out of shape and didn’t perform well when he did play. The Raiders added several cornerbacks this offseason and there was a report that Arnette was an “afterthought” during the Raiders’ offseason program.

Arnette hasn’t been terrible in training camp and he appears to be in better shape than his rookie season. Still, he is working behind veteran Casey Hayward, who signed a one-year contract with Las Vegas in May. The Raiders didn’t take Arnette with the No. 19 overall pick to see him be a backup in his second season. So, he has a long way to go.

Jeff Okudah, Arnette’s college teammate with the Buckeyes, was taken with the No.3 pick that year by the Detroit Lions. He, too, didn’t have a great rookie year and struggled with some injuries.

Of course, there is time for Arnette and these other players to develop and justify their high selections. But, there is no denying, the early stages of these cornerback careers have been less than ideal.