ATLANTA, GEORGIA – NOVEMBER 29: Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on during warm ups prior to their game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 29, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
The Raiders need a ton of defensive help to make the playoffs in 2021. How many upgrades can Jon Gruden acquire during the 2021 NFL Draft?
Jon Gruden might like to stoke the NFL rumor mill with thoughts of replacing Derek Carr, but the reality is that the Raiders offense was pretty good in 2020. The defense was a different story. Las Vegas needs a significant overhaul on that side of the ball if they want to make the playoffs in 2021.
It’s not as if the franchise hasn’t tried to fix their defensive issues in recent drafts. Guys like Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Abram, and Damon Arnette have all come in as first rounders with high expectations in recent seasons. Unfortunately for the Raiders, no one they’ve spent a premium pick on lately has managed to elevate the defense’s play.
The franchise hopes that hiring Gus Bradley as their new defensive coordinator will be part of the solution. He can improve the team’s scheme, but an infusion of talent will still be required to get this defense up to par. That’s why the following 7-round Raiders’ mock is chocked full of potential defensive acquisitions.
Cornerback South Carolina
Arnette struggled mightily during his rookie season. It’s too soon to call him a total bust, but he shouldn’t be counted on as a starter in 2021. That’s why landing Horn at No. 17 makes a lot of sense for Las Vegas.
Gruden will love the competitiveness the former South Carolina star plays with. He wasn’t afraid to battle in man-to-man coverage with any wide receiver in the SEC. Combine that with his borderline elite athleticism and it’s easy to see him becoming an above-average starter in the NFL.