Raiders

Raiders

ALAMEDA -- Trayvon Mullen has a ton of talent. You don't get selected in the second round of the NFL draft if you can't ball. 

Still, cornerback is one of the positions where there tends to be a learning curve from college -- where quarterbacks rarely test top corners -- to the NFL where those same corners are targeted from the moment they step on the field.

Mullen, who did not allow a touchdown during his collegiate career at Clemson, got a taste of that life Monday when he made his NFL debut during the Raiders' 24-16 win over the Denver Broncos. After Oakland's top cornerback Gareon Conley was carted off the field with a possible neck injury, Mullen was thrust into action, charged with helping the Silver and Black preserve their lead. 

As expected, the Broncos and veteran quarterback Joe Flacco went right at Mullen, who was shadowing Emmanuel Sanders. The young corner was targeted four times, surrendering three catches and a touchdown to the savvy veteran. 

There was nothing for Mullen to hang his head about, though. He was half a step away from picking off a Flacco pass and taking it the other way for a touchdown, and had good coverage on the touchdown catch.

It wasn't a sparkling NFL debut for the talented corner, but Mullen knows he can build off his first real outing.

 

"For me, it was just, I went out there, played with confidence like always, took a couple shots and some plays I could have took back and did different, but for me, it's a learning experience," Mullen told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday. "I know the type of player I am, how good I am. For me, it's just playing with technique, being physical and playing fast and I'll be alright."

Cornerbacks are expected to play every snap, so Mullen had seen the field sparingly until Conley went out. There were no nerves, though.

"When he went out, I was ready," Mullen said. "I was like, 'I'm up.' Have to always be prepared. Like I said, I lean on my technique and my confidence and my play-making ability, so I was ready."

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Conley returned to practice Wednesday and is expected to play Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Coliseum, but Mullen will be ready for when his number is called again.

He watched the film of his debut and knows he belongs on the field. The Broncos picked their spots against the rookie and had some success.

The next team won't be as fortunate.