Kelly Kriner’s series looking at various position targets for the Las Vegas Raiders draft looks at the defensive side of the ball for the first time with the “of need” position of cornerback up first.
Editors note: In this series, Kriner will review some of the possible targets for the Raiders draft in each round. It evaluates each position group, except TE. These are not suggested Raiders draft picks but possible targets if they do draft these positions in each round.
Outside of wide receiver, the position of cornerback has perhaps the greatest need entering this draft for the Raiders. While young players like Trayvon Mullen have shown promise, the Raiders need more talent and need it fast. Luckily, the may have a good chance of improving that group throughout the draft.
Round 1 – Kristian Fulton, LSU
- Well built for an outside corner with good footwork and overall athleticism.
- Great ball recognition with back to the ball.
- Can play both man and zone, shows good burst in off man.
- He can give up on plays not in his zone.
- Lack of interceptions in college, but had several pass breakups.
- Not the most physical tackler.
A versatile corner that can slide in a #2 corner spot now, with the upside to be a #1, Fulton will be in the mix as that third corner off the board. Lack of elite speed may be an issue for some teams but his ability with his back to the ball will quiet some of those concerns. A player with this much upside in both man and zone has the chance to be a star.
Round 3 – Bryce Hall, Virginia
- Hall’s football IQ is next level.
- Tackling will not be an issue, more than willing to lay some pop on a receiver or runner.
- Excellent ball skills will lead to pass breakups and turnovers at the next level.
- Coming off an ankle injury so his health will be something to monitor.
- Can get overpowered in man to man coverage.
I had Hall as a first-round corner last year and was surprised he went back to Virginia. A smart tough player that will make plays in both pass and rush defense. The medicals on his ankle will be an issue and will be the reason he may be available in the third round. If he makes it back to his 2018 form, landing Hall at this position will be a coup for whoever drafts him.
Round 4 – Cameron Dantzler, Miss. State
- At 6’2” Dantzler’s length is going to be an asset at the next level.
- His ability to break on the ball will lead to pass disruptions.
- A good fighter at the catch point.
- A definite negative in run support.
- Lack of strength hurts him in a press man system.
- Lack of speed shows up on tape way too often.
Speed will be the issue for Dantzler. He ran a terrible 40 at the combine and nobody believes the number he posted at his pro day. Dantzler will fit better in a zone scheme but a player with his length and toughness at the catch point will make teams consider him despite his lack of speed.
Round 5 – Lamar Jackson, Nebraska
- Great size and length for an outside corner.
- Press coverage has improved each year at Nebraska.
- Makes plays at the catch point.
- Lack of top-end speed.
- Has trouble diagnosing plays which leads to him getting “grabby” with the receiver.
- Has trouble tracking deep balls.
Had some good production at Nebraska at corner after switching from a high school safety. His size and length help to make up for his lack of speed. If he continues to improve his press coverage Jackson could find himself a good rotational corner at the next level.