Raiders Draft: 2017 Watch List – Cornerbacks

I was a little perplexed as to why Reggie McKenzie didn’t pull the trigger and invest in a cornerback in any round of the 2016 draft. Entering the season, the group has obviously improved, but what’s that really saying? Reggie clearly has some confidence, misguided or otherwise, with this current “situation”. I may have already vented on the subject, so I digress. We’re here moving on and looking ahead anyhow.

The 2017 crop looks strong, led by star-in-the-making Jalen Tabor. Another year for a certain, unnamed general manager to pass on some much needed help and depth (kidding, I hope).

1. Jalen Tabor, Florida

Tabor was the best Florida cornerback last year, and I say that as a big Hargreaves fan myself. As the season went on, teams were throwing Tabor’s way less and less, while the eventual first round selection was still on the field. The stats were piling up early and often; you throw on the tape and realize that Tabor simply has a knack for being around the ball – sounds easy, right? He’s my CB1 entering the season and it won’t surprise if he holds onto the crown until draft day.

2. Sidney Jones IV, Washington

I’ve already seen some discussion that has Mr. Jones holding the top CB spot coming into the season. After some early looks, you can understand why. It could be the arm-sleeve(s) he wears, but Jones reminds me of former Raider corner Nnamdi Asomugha. I think he’ll get stronger this season and we’ll see that stock steadily rise as a result. A name to monitor closely.

3. Desmond King, Iowa

A player most had as a lock for the first round this spring as the CB1, King returns to school and looks to build on an already awesome résumé. He’s not the most impressive athlete, but he gets it done on the outside (arguably) better than anyone in the country. His technique and size standout.

4. Jourdan Lewis, Michigan

Yes, he’s small. Moving on…

Lewis is a stud, and a player who pops on a quietly stacked and retooled Michigan defense. He might have the some of the best pure ball skills in this entire class, and his aggressive play-style is contagious. Get ready for (insert good, small cornerback name here) comparisons as draft season picks up.

5. Adoree’ Jackson, Southern California

The player next in line to fill the Raiders/Trojan narrative.

Jackson is a freaky athlete who’ll impact the game at corner as well as a returner on special teams. I’ve heard concerns about his height at this point; he’s “just an athlete” to some, and viewed as too raw to make the transition to the league. While I do agree with the latter, and I hope the Trojan coaching staff allows him to hone his skills in the secondary, I obviously love the upside here.

Honorable Mentions:

Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson

Much like the Hargreaves/Tabor situation in Gainesville, Tankersley may be the better pro prospect when comparing to former teammate Mackensie Alexander.

Marlon Humphrey, Alabama

A stud on special teams as well as in the defensive backfield, Humphrey is already a favorite of the PFF staff:

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