Raiders

NFL Draft 2019: Raiders pick Trayvon Mullen No. 40, add to secondary

NFL Draft 2019: Raiders pick Trayvon Mullen No. 40, add to secondary

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. 

Trayvon Mullen

Position: Cornerback
College: Clemson
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 199 pounds
Selection: Second round (No. 40 overall)

Scouting report

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.

Projected role

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

Raiders going 'all hands on deck' with Dion Jordan, D.J. Swearinger

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USATSI

Raiders going 'all hands on deck' with Dion Jordan, D.J. Swearinger

ALAMEDA -- Dion Jordan hasn’t been a Raider long. He signed with the team on Friday and formally joined the team on Tuesday after his NFL-imposed suspension ended, leaving some question whether he’d be ready to play right away.

That answer’s already becoming clear. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said the defensive lineman should don silver and black soon.

“Absolutely,” Guenther said. “I think there’s a very good chance he makes his Raiders debut.”

Jordan isn’t the only new guy ready to make a contribution. Safety D.J. Swearinger should step right in, possibly playing a significant role in this Bengals game with Karl Joseph now on injured reserve.

“I do [expect Swearinger to play],” Guenther said. “It’s all hands on deck this week with the guys we got.”

Swearinger seemed to have better odds of making an instant impact. He came in on Friday and his transition has been smooth after playing in a similar defense while with Arizona earlier this year.

“You know, coming from Arizona, Vance Joseph is the defensive coordinator there,” Guenther said. “He was my secondary coach when I was in Cincinnati, so he’s used to kind of the same terminology. When we got him here I was like, ‘hey this is this coverage, this is that coverage,’ and he shook his head, ‘yeah I got it.’ So that was helpful. And he’s a smart guy to begin with so he’s picked it up really good.”

Jordan had to show well in Thursday’s practice, a higher-tempo workout with one-on-one pass-rush drills. Jordan is in fantastic shape but hasn’t played all season while serving a 10-game ban for using Adderall. The Raiders really need Jordon to fortify a thin defensive end group worked hard during the past few games. 

[RELATED: Jordan ready to work, realize full potential with Raiders]

Jordan will bring some fresh legs, even if he’s only available on obvious passing downs.

“He’s big and long. He’s getting into football shape, and has really helped us out,” Guenther said. “He’s picking up the playbook quick, so he was in working with the first team at some points today.”

Derek Carr comfortable spreading ball around in Raiders' passing game

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AP

Derek Carr comfortable spreading ball around in Raiders' passing game

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr beat the Detroit Lions with a tiebreaking, game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. The Raiders quarterback completed two passes to Jalen Richard for chunk yards and another to Hunter Renfrow for a touchdown. Mix in some runs and that accounts for 75 yards with the game on the line.

Carr orchestrated another game-winner at the Coliseum the following Thursday night against the Chargers, connecting with Richard, then Renfrow, then Richard, the Renfrow, then Richard again. That set up Josh Jacobs’ 18-yard touchdown run to beat the Bolts.

Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller were in the pattern on both series. Carr enjoys going to the Raiders' top targets in big moments, but they’re typically blanketed with additional coverage.

Carr isn’t one to force the issue when a path of less resistance comes available, allowing the Raiders to steadily work down the field even in a time crunch.

He doesn’t have to worry about egos or demands for the darn ball when he gets back to the huddle. The Raiders share a singular focus, and that helps the quarterback operate under pressure and in times of less stress.

“It is so special and it’s very rare nowadays. We do not care about fantasy numbers, we do not care about stats, we don’t care about anything but winning,” Carr said. “And if they are going to take Waller away, the way we are going to have to win games is for someone else to step up and win their matchup. If they are going to take the pass game away, myself and our pass game, then Josh has to win it with our offensive line. If they want to take Josh away, then our guys have to win outside.”

Carr has worked with several top receivers and tight ends, with egos of varying sizes. His past experiences have been, at times, worse than this one.

“We as a team, we have such a good group of skill position guys that do not care about that stuff and, as you know, that’s rare especially nowadays when everything is on social media,” Carr said. “If you don’t get enough fantasy points, people are tweeting you and all this kind of stuff. I promise you no one on our team cares about that stuff even a little bit.”

Waller has been the best Raiders receiver in fantasy and the real world. His 51 catches for 588 yards rank first by a large margin, yet Carr has seven receivers with at least 12 catches.

Waller’s seeing the ball go in different directions by garnering extra attention, but he’s happy others are stepping up.

“It’s really cool, but I’m not really surprised,” Waller said. “They’ve been doing it. They’ve been showing themselves in practice from spring until now. It’s just a chance for everyone else to see it now. We’ve seen it for a while so, but it’s awesome to see.”

[RELATED: Jordan ready to work, realize full potential with Raiders]

That attitude comes from a team-first dynamic built by weathering so much adversity through the season. This group has bonded over all that and is playing better than the sum of its parts because of it.

“We care about each other; we care about seeing each other succeed,” Carr said. “That’s why if you ever watch our team, whenever someone scores a touchdown you don’t see anyone on the field like, ‘Man, that should have been my ball or man, that should have been me.’ Nobody cares about that stuff. We just cared that our buddy scored and we are going to win the football game.”