The Raiders knocked their first pick of the 2020 NFL Draft out of the park Thursday night, by selecting Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs.
With their second pick, they went a little off book by drafting Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette at No. 19.
Most expected the Raiders to try to trade down from the 19th spot, in an effort to pick up a second-round pick. Instead, they filled their second-biggest need with Arnette, a cornerback who was seen by many analysts as a second- or third-round pick.
While taking Arnette at No. 19 is a reach, it isn't a bad pick by any means.
Arnette is tough, physical, technically sound and a great press-man corner. Playing opposite Jeff Okudah -- who went No. 3 overall to the Detroit Lions -- Arnette saw a ton of action. Quarterbacks who didn't want to throw at Okudah, opted to target Arnette, and he held opposing quarterbacks to the lowest passing rating allowed when targeted in single coverage.
Pretty, pretty good.
With their contract with Eli Apple falling through, the Raiders needed to fill the void at corner opposite Trayvon Mullen. Kristian Fulton, Jaylon Johnson and Jeff Gladney all still were on the board, but the Raiders went to the Columbus, Ohio, well that has produced loads of top corners in recent years.
Coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock have made their love for players from winning programs known. Arnette is tough -- he played through a broken wrist last year -- with great quickness, quiet feet and an edge that Gruden and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will love.
Arnette thrives at crowding receivers at the line, and is good at disrupting early in the play. He lacks elite speed, though, and can lose on downfield routes.
All in all, Arnette possesses the talent to come in and be a Day 1 starter in silver and black. He has the short-area quickness, physicality, coverage ability and ball skills to be a good NFL corner.
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