The Raiders have actually chosen a player this time.
After trading back twice in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Raiders have selected cornerback Trayvon Mullen with the No. 40 overall pick.
Weight: 199 pounds
Selection: Second round (No. 40 overall)
Mullen is a big, athletic cornerback with experience playing most any coverage scheme. He doesn’t get beat deep often, but analysts say he has to improve his reads and route recognition to take the next step as player. Good coaching could get him there as a solid and steady producer.
Mullen can be a bit inconsistent reacting to route breaks, another weakness that can be coached up.
“Mullen has an above-average combination of athleticism and length, but he is more of an athlete than technically-refined cover man and must improve his understanding of play indicators to take the next step in his development, projecting as a high-ceiling developmental corner,” said Dane Brugler, NFL draft expert for The Athletic.
Mullen was named the Defensive MVP of the NCAA national championship game, when Clemson beat Alabama at Levi’s Stadium. He had six tackles, a sack, forced fumble and an interception in that game.
Mullen had 93 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions and seven passes defensed during his college career.
Mullen won’t be required to step in and contribute right away, with Gareon Conley, Daryl Worley and Nevin Lawson as true cornerbacks and Lamarcus Joyner frequently moving from free safety into the slot. The Raiders need a long-term solution at cornerback, with Worley and Lawson entering contract years.
This could spell trouble for last year’s fourth-round pick Nick Nelson, who will likely fight for a roster spot this spring and summer despite having more slot experience that Mullen. The former Clemson Tiger primarily works on the outside.
Mullen doesn’t have to make an instant impact, but he’ll certainly be allowed to compete for as big a role as he can earn.
What they’re saying
“I feel like I have separated myself being able to compete well, do drills well, and just be mentally focussed and prepared for the next level. I feel like I can be a first-round corner. Maybe the first corner off the boards. Like I said before, my preparation and how I prepare myself and what I did during the times at the Combine and Pro Day.” -- Mullen on the prospect of going high in the NFL draft