Raiders

Why Raiders draft pick Trayvon Mullen believes Oakland is perfect fit

Why Raiders draft pick Trayvon Mullen believes Oakland is perfect fit

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden can fire up even those already excited. That was the case in the NFL draft’s second round, when the Raiders selected Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen No. 40 overall.

Mullen was pumped to hear his name called, a feeling amplified by the team that took him and the coach he spoke to on the phone.

“I was really happy when they called me, I was really excited,” Mullen said. “I told Coach Gruden that I could just see myself playing in that defense.”

Mullen visited the Raiders during the pre-draft process, and knew this was a perfect scheme fit. He stands 6-foot-1, 199 pounds with long arms, with the toughness required to play press-man coverage the Silver and Black prefer.

“Coming here was big for me when I got drafted here just because of the tradition of this team and the defense, and the type of corners that they draft,” Mullen said. “They have had lot of elite, big corners and they play a lot of man coverage. That’s something that we did a lot at Clemson, so it fits me well.”

Mullen mentions tradition, and that’s where Gruden raised the roof during the draft call. Gruden talked about the Raiders proud history employing excellent, physical cornerbacks, including Willie Brown, Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes. There are two gold jackets in that group, and there should probably be three.

That took Mullen from excited to ecstatic about his landing spot and potentially playing with Gruden and coordinator Paul Guenther.

Mullen considers himself the best cornerback in this draft, meaning he dreams big about playing at the same level as those top cornerbacks.

Those guys played a while ago, though. Nnamdi Asomugha was the last top Raiders corner. The recent track record of Raiders cornerbacks isn’t so proud since he left. New pairings rotated in for years until Sean Smith and then David Amerson were given longer-term contracts that were cut short well before the expiration date.

There’s plenty of talent here now. Gareon Conley could be a top cornerback if he can maintain good health. The Raiders like Daryl Worley’s physicality. Nevin Lawson is also here this year and brings experience. Conley’s the only one under contract beyond 2019, and they drafted Mullen in the second round expecting him to fit in and be a long-term solution.

That’s possible because the scheme plays to his strengths.

“I try to use my length and my body as an advantage,” Mullen said. “Try to play physical, strong, try to get my hands-on guys at the line, try to slow them down, keep my body in front of guys. Just be big and physical, especially at this level, you got a lot of great receivers so just got to be able to be physical, use your feet and hands.”

[RELATED: Raiders show 'championship mindset' by wearing Clemson gear]

Mullen wants to build trust with coaches and teammates during the offseason program, and compete for snaps as a rookie by proving he can play well in the system.

“I feel like you’re getting someone who could potentially be a lockdown corner in this league,” said first-round defensive end Clelin Ferrell, who played with Mullen at Clemson. “He has every athletic skill set that you need in a corner, and obviously has that competitive mindset. That’s the biggest thing, you can have all the ability, but are you a competitor? That’s the thing he definitely has.”

Source: Raiders moving training camp from Napa to new Nevada facility

Source: Raiders moving training camp from Napa to new Nevada facility

The Raiders were set to conduct their offseason and training camp in the Bay Area before leaving permanently for Las Vegas. The coronavirus pandemic wiped out all football business at the team’s Alameda training complex, including most of a 2020 offseason program now conducted virtually with players, coaches and team officials staying home.

The team still had plans to hold training camp in Napa, but it seemed less likely in recent weeks with the team considering other options. Now that’s out of the question with the NFL mandating teams conduct training camp at their home facilities due to the ongoing public health crisis.

The Raiders will conduct their camp at their new facility currently under construction in Henderson, Nev. The complex is scheduled for completion by the end of this month, leaving plenty of time to be ready when camps start later in July.

A league source confirmed news on Tuesday afternoon that was first reported by ESPN.

Commissioner Roger Goodell explained the edict in a Tuesday memo to all 32 teams, stating that the league and the NFLPA wanted to limit travel and the need to maintain two facilities during the summer. The NFL and NFLPA have also banned joint practices this preseason, an increasingly popular trend the Raiders had joined the last two preseasons with the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams, respectively.

This is a one-year mandate to train at home, not a permanent policy switch that impacts 10 teams who go away for camp. That means the Raiders could return to the Napa training camp facility, and owner Mark Davis loved during the team’s 25 summers spent in Wine Country. Davis didn’t rule out training in Napa even after moving to Las Vegas in an interview last summer, though that’s ultimately uncertain at this stage. The team does not have a contract to return to Napa in 2021.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

While it’s extremely hot in Nevada during summer months when training camps are held, the Raiders have an indoor practice bubble as part of their facility. They could also conduct intense workouts early in the morning before temperatures rise. 

The Raiders will be fully entrenched in Nevada soon. Some moving trucks have already transported property from Alameda to Henderson, where the Silver and Black are building a gorgeous training facility. Allegiant Stadium is nearing completion just off the Las Vegas Strip, with July 31 as a scheduled completion date.

[RELATED: Raiders' offseason additions have Jon Gruden primed for playoff return]

Several Raiders players, including quarterback Derek Carr, have already moved to the Las Vegas area and are training in small groups at local gathering spots in the region.

The NFL is planning to start training camps on time, with government mandated shelter-in-place restrictions loosening as the economy begins to re-open. The full squad typically reports just over two weeks prior to the first preseason, which the Raiders are scheduled to play on Aug. 13 at Seattle.

Raiders' Mark Davis sweating Allegiant Stadium construction timeline

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Raiders' Mark Davis sweating Allegiant Stadium construction timeline

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis said construction crews are working against the clock as they mount a final push to complete Allegiant Stadium ahead of a July 31 deadline.

Speaking Monday morning on ESPN Radio 1100’s “The Press Box,” co-hosted by Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney, Davis touched on how crews have worked around the constraints created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“You think everything is going great and everything is on time and all of a sudden real life steps in the way,” Davis said. “You have to be prepared for those types of issues.”

Mortenson-McCarthy reported last week that 15 trade workers on the project are currently home with the coronavirus.

READ ABOUT ALLEGIANT STADIUM CONSTRUCTION ON REVIEW-JOURNAL