Jaylon Johnson

NFL Draft 2020: Chase Claypool, five other ideal Day 2 Raiders fits

NFL Draft 2020: Chase Claypool, five other ideal Day 2 Raiders fits

The 2020 NFL Draft is less than a week away, which means it's time to talk about fit. No, not if you'll still be able to squeeze into your jeans when the shelter-in-place is over, but which prospects will mesh the best with the Raiders' culture, scheme and roster construction.

We know the Silver and Black will be looking for elite talent with their two first-round draft picks. They are expected to fill their two most glaring needs first, wide receiver and cornerback. By now, you know all about CeeDee Lamb's ability to make people miss, Jerry Jeudy's route-running, Henry Ruggs' athleticism and CJ Henderson's elite coverage ability.

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But now we turn our attention to Day 2, where the Raiders currently own three third-round picks and nothing in the second. We've discussed the Day 2 options at receiver, cornerback and defensive tackles, as well as late-round sleepers with a singular elite skill.

Day 2 will be crucial for the Raiders. General manager Mike Mayock knows he should find three NFL starters in the third round if the Raiders keep those picks. There's a high probability the Raiders will try and pick up a second-round pick in some way. So, for the sake of this exercise, we are going to assume the Raiders will have found a second-round pick and still have at least two of their third-round selections.

Let's look at the best Day 2 fits for the Raiders.

Antoine Winfield, S, Minnesota

Winfield is a ballhawk, plain and simple.

The Minnesota product has great coverage instincts, versatility and tenacity. He's rising up draft boards, so he'll likely be out of the Raiders' range. But if they can find a way into the second round, they could find a good safety to pair with Johnathan Abram.


Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame

Let's get this one out of the way. My love of Chase Claypool is as well known as my affinity for chicken wings and an ice-cold IPA. (And we've got Raiders Insider Scott Bair on the train as well.)

Claypool is an athletic freak. A 6-foot-4, 238-pound robot who blistered a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine.

He can be split out wide as a vertical threat or moved inside as a possession receiver in the slot. Versatility is the name of the game and coach Jon Gruden would love what he could draw up for Claypool.


Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah

If Jaylon Johnson had to guess, he thinks the Raiders will draft him.

The 6-foot corner would be a great fit a Raiders' secondary that's in desperate need of another shutdown corner opposite Trayvon Mullen. Johnson is a good athlete with the mirroring skills and physicality to be a lockdown corner if he develops the right way.

The Raiders could go corner in Round 1, but if they trade back and address other needs first, Johnson would be a great fit.

Mock drafts have Johnson projected anywhere from No. 21 overall to the third round, so he could be gone by the time the Raiders pick but he's one to keep an eye on.


K'Von Wallace, S/CB, Clemson

Wallace played deep safety at Clemson but could routinely play the slot in the NFL.

Mayock and Jon Gruden's affinity for Clemson products is well known and Wallace would give the Raiders versatility in the secondary. He could play behind both Damarious Randall and Lamarcus Joyner in Year 1 and then transition into a starting role if either or both don't return.

His lack of length could hurt his draft value, but he fits what the Raiders want.


Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama

The Raiders need to get stronger up the middle, and they have a player once thought to be a first-round talent fall into their lap.

Davis, 6-foot-7, 312 pounds, is an absolute load in the middle. He has the length, height and power to be a great run defender in the NFL. Davis burst onto the scene during his sophomore year at Alabama, but the production stagnated. He needs to work on his pass-rush plan and ability to create leverage, but all the tools are there.

[RELATED: Why Raiders could continue mining from elite college programs]

Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina

If the Raiders miss out on Claypool and Michael Pittman (likely) they could turn to another talented, 6-foot-3 beast in Bryan Edwards.

The South Carolina product's contested-catch ability is off the charts and he would give Derek Carr a jump-ball threat in the red-zone. He struggled to gain separation against outside press coverage in college, but thrived while being a "big-body slot."

He could wear many hats for the Raiders and would be a solid consolation prize to pair with a likely first-round receiver. This is, of course, if they miss out on Claypool.

I mean ... what is this sorcery.

Fine, I've talked myself into Edwards.

NFL Draft 2020: Utah's Jaylon Johnson has 'hunch' Raiders will pick him

NFL Draft 2020: Utah's Jaylon Johnson has 'hunch' Raiders will pick him

No one knows what will happen in the NFL draft -- well, other than the fact that Joe Burrow is going to be a Cincinnati Bengal.

After that, prepare for every mock draft to be blown up by pick No. 5 as teams trade up to select the next face of their franchise and move down to collect draft assets.

If anyone truly has any idea of what teams are going to do, it's the players themselves. They know which teams have shown the most interest in them, which interviews they nailed and where they are projected to go. So, if we're going to trust the players, then the Raiders have found their newest cornerback and no, it's not CJ Henderson.

Utah's Jaylon Johnson, a projected top-50 pick, was asked to predict which team was going to draft him on Bleacher Report's "Stick to Football" podcast. Take it for what it's worth, but Johnson thinks he'll be wearing silver and black next season.

"That's crazy, you're putting me on the spot," Johnson said when asked the question. "I would say the Raiders. A hunch? Yeah, I'd say the Raiders."

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 The Raiders tabbing Johnson, a physical, 6-foot corner from Utah, makes a ton of sense. Johnson is long, tough, rangy and sticky when allowed to get his hands on receivers in press-man coverage. He has some warts, to be sure. The Fresno native isn't the quickest and could have some issues due to his lack of flexibility, but Johnson's a strong corner who should be able to match up well with the bigger-body receivers in the NFL. With the Raiders' contract with Eli Apple falling through, their need at cornerback now is bigger than ever. They could use the No. 12 pick on a guy like Henderson, or trade up to secure the elite Jeff Okudah. But if they are looking for someone at No. 19, or even looking to trade down, secure more assets and then take a corner, Johnson fits the style defensive coordinator Paul Guenther desires in his corners and the type of toughness and physicality general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden want. 

Johnson had surgery on a torn labrum in his shoulder after the NFL Scouting Combine, but he is expected to be full-go come September.

[RELATED: Five CBs for Raiders to target on Day 2 of draft]

The Raiders need to address wide receiver, cornerback and their defensive line in this draft. With two first-round picks and three third-round picks, Mayock and Gruden have the ammo to do just that.

Johnson fits a need and archetype the Raiders are looking for. He could pair nicely with Trayvon Mullen, giving the Raiders two cornerbacks capable of holding up on the outside. That's what they'll need to compete against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders can find plug-and-play cornerback in first round

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders can find plug-and-play cornerback in first round

The Raiders entered this offseason hoping to secure the services of a shutdown cornerback. They haven’t done that yet, though it wasn’t for lack of effort.

They backed up the Brinks truck for Byron Jones and offered Chris Jones Jr. a decent sum. They poked around on a Darius Slay trade. They didn’t get any of those guys.

They agreed on terms with Eli Apple as an alternate plan, but even that deal fell apart. They signed Damarious Randall, but the initial expectation is that he’ll play free safety.

So Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock enter the 2020 NFL Draft looking to satisfy a pressing need that exists despite their affinity for 2019 fourth-rounder Isaiah Johnson.

They have two first-round picks -- Nos. 12 and 19 -- to acquire a cornerback they can plug in and play outside opposite Trayvon Mullen. There’s a belief among NFL draft experts that there aren’t many instant impact cornerbacks available, so it may take a high pick to get one.

Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah falls decisively into that category, but there’s no way in holy heck he lasts until the Raiders pick. The Raiders could possibly trade up to get him -- our Josh Schrock thinks the Raiders should do that -- but it would take significant capital to get high enough and might not be worth the expense.

So let’s eliminate Okudah as an option and focus on players the Raiders could realistically get where they’re currently slotted:

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No. 12 overall

CJ Henderson, Florida (6-feet, 204 pounds): The former Gator probably is the only cornerback considered worthy of the No. 12 pick, provided Okudah is off the board as expected. Henderson certainly is a step above every other draft prospect, with the size, length and athleticism to be a respected NFL cornerback.

He challenges routes and is a competitive sort, which the Raiders would like. He has experience playing both man and zone but is a top tier press-man prospect, and that fits what the Raiders are looking for. The rare knocks, per draft analysts, are that he’s not a great run defender, not a sure tackler and he doesn’t have elite ball skills, but his work ethic suggests he could develop in those areas.

[RELATED: Why Raiders trading up for Jeff Okudah is perfect move]

No. 19 overall

Trevon Diggs, Alabama (6-foot-1, 205 pounds): The former member of the Crimson Tide secondary has elite size, length and strength for the position. Stefon Diggs’ younger brother has competitive drive to spare and has experience in a press-man scheme. He got better with technique and discipline but still has room to grow. He already has excellent ball skills, analysts say, with an ability to jump routes and defend passes.

Jaylon Johnson, Utah (6 feet, 193 pounds): The former Ute is built for press coverage, which may be enticing for the Raiders. He has the size and length to play tough at the line of scrimmage and delay timing of receiver routes. He also can play off, armed with the anticipation and ball skills to break up passes. He’s also a good communicator and has good leaping ability on deep balls. There’s development left to be made, analysts say, especially when the ball’s on its away, and that he can struggle against precise, elite route runners. He’s still projected as a quality NFL starter, which the Raiders definitely need. The Raiders might still be able to snag him and trade down in the first round, getting a good corner and an extra selection or two.

A.J. Terrell, Clemson (6-foot-1, 195 pounds): The Raiders already have one starting cornerback from Clemson. Why not two? Mullen showed proficiency running the Raiders scheme, so there’s reason to believe Terrell could do the same. He struggled mightily in the national title game versus LSU, but there’s plenty of good tape out there. He’s another press-man cornerback who can close in open space and make plays on the ball. He’s good working deep, but overall there’s improvement to be made in several areas and he might not qualify as the plug and play right away cornerback the Raiders need.

Others worth consideration: Kristian Fulton, LSU, Jeff Gladney, TCU