Ryan’s Report Card: CB Damon Arnette (1.19)

Reacting to the draft and handing out “grades” is a fool’s errand. We know this. Opinions, oftentimes, are all over the place. When someone doesn’t agree with you, you’re immediately hit with the “check back with me in three or four years” line. I totally get that. We haven’t seen these kids in a professional environment at this point; anointing a player a “hit” or a “bust” entering even just their second season feels premature. So, the safe thing to do is wait, and sit on these opinions and gut-feelings. Things take time; waiting to get these takes off is not as fun — so here we are.

The Good

Can play inside or outside; versatile. Looks like a starting corner at 6-0, 195. As we saw last year, and again this year, and something I’m confident that we’ll continue to see moving forward as long as they’re in position: Damon Arnette fits the Jon Gruden-Mike Mayock “type” to a tee. He’s got some bully to his game. He’s strong and aggressive. It’s his mentality. All those intangibles are great on paper and even better when they translate (but it’s hard to quantify them of course and at times, they’re subjective depending on who you’re talking to and how much they matter to that person). In this case, this team is “building an identity”, we’re told, and Arnette fits and that’s a good thing.

Played last year with a cast, after injuring his wrist, so you know Gruden loved to see that #grit and fight to work and play through. The intangibles box is very, very checked off at this point. He made a jump from the 2018 tape to how he played in 2019, so perhaps ascending at the right time (despite the age). He’s one of the better corners in contested catch situations.

Last one: Per PFF, Arnette saw the second-most targets of any round one cornerback (170). With those targets, he allowed the lowest passer rating (in single coverage); also didn’t concede more than 1 touchdown during his four-year college career.

Ohio State on BTN on Twitter

DBU, and don’t you forget it. @OhioStateFB’s @damon_arnette is headed to Las Vegas as the @Raiders take the CB with the nineteenth overall pick in the #NFLDraft! @NFL x @OhioStAthletics https://t.co/Jev08p6O2d

The Question Marks

Arnette is older (will be 24 in September) and didn’t really blow anyone away athletically (4.56 speed). Doesn’t “play faster” on tape but he got by; a second gear would be beneficial. I try to not get too hung-up on age, but I think when you’re coming off the board early, you factor in all these inputs when building the profile. I also think if Arnette had “far and away” the best corner tape in the class, we wouldn’t have to nitpick as much. Truth is, he’s still improving in many aspects (or, as suggested above, maybe ascending right before our eyes).

I fully understand many don’t care about where the consensus was and you just have to “get your guy” and all that. And now that he’s a Raider, he’s the best cornerback in the class. I know how this works. The truth is, there wasn’t anyone fan-wise, big media, former players, scouts, execs, etc. that I have personally come across that had a first-round grade on Arnette. Not to say that they’re all right, but that’s got to be a flag to some degree, if only from a process/value standpoint.

The Grade


I think there are some concerns for Arnette, especially when considering where he left the board. I understand the “get your guy” stance, and that makes sense. I respect it, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be honest or critical either. The best compliment that I can pay Arnette, not that my opinion wholly matters, is that the more I’ve watched and read, the more I’ve come around. I would not have made the pick at 19, but I get the attraction at least. This was a C/C+ draft pick, but I’m still riding the Day 2/Day 3-high, and like this class in general, so maybe I’m feeling generous.

I won’t take away too much here because the word is they (the Raiders) were at least attempting to slide down at 19 — but things fell apart or the dots never connected. That would’ve been the play for Arnette, albeit still a little early. I think we’re talking about a third-round player, maybe a round two guy at best if he was able to shave some time off that 40.

Overall, Arnette clearly checks all of the intangible or play-style/mentality boxes that both Gruden and Mayock weigh heavily for better or worse. I think this is a player that both men aligned on, and had a very similar evaluation on. When the trade-down fell through, they panicked, and pulled the trigger. The new Las Vegas football team is desperately in need of something long-term and consistent at any cornerback spot, so the job is Arnette’s for the taking.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive


6 thoughts on “Ryan’s Report Card: CB Damon Arnette (1.19)

  1. I don’t want to hear anything about “check back with me in 3 or 4 years and draft grades are a fools errand whether true or not! I’ve watched almost every game this team has played since the early 90’s and in my non professional opinion they blew this draft with not only reaching, but by passing up early opportunities to get good talent where needed at quarterback and not addressing needs in defense particularly linebacker! These two appointees Mayock and Chucky II have had the “immediate” chances these last two drafts and off seasons with high draft picks in early rounds cap space to pursue top talent to a state of the art stadium provided by Davis to win “NOW” ; SUPER BOWLS not 3 or 4 years!!! The fans have waited long enough and we’ll find out by December whether their decisions they’ve made these last two seasons were the right ones or not! They **** well better be right, because anything short of super bowl victories in these 2 upcoming seasons will be considered wrong decisions!!!!

    1. Grow up Buddy ur bringing the mood down to your level quit being a Hater Bro and have some fun #Go RaidersGo #JustWinBaby #RN4L

  2. I think we should have drafted Patrick Queen at that pick. I believe we still could have taken Arnette in the third at pick 80. But all in all the boys took athletic type of ball players instead of down right football players. They new guys can play all over the field and Bowden can return punts and kick offs as well as be the wild cat quarterback. At first glance this draft looks weak but look further and you will see the new guys are good and they are all going to play right away

  3. Have faith Raider Nation and be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And won’t be rebuilt in a day. The chemistry is there and this experiment is being put together by 2 great a Football Laboratory Professors Gruden and Mayock. Their experiment is putting together all the necessary Elements , combined correctly and given time to react together ,will explosively blow away both the doubters and competition.

  4. Hey Ryan, which former players, scouts, and exec’s did you talk to? so, you’ve “watched and read” some game tape and ready reviews from whom? Kiper, McShay, and the rest of the so-called “draft experts”? How many of these prospects did you actually meet with, put thru workouts? How many of their college HC’s, position coaches, trainers did you interview? How many of these prospects, did you spend time with on Whiteboards, during Zoom interviewers? Did you listed to HOF’r Bill Polian today, on NFL network? He was praising Mayock’s selection of Arnette, saying that the GM’s in the League, that do it for REAL, had Arnette rated highly. In the end, I’ll trust Mayock, who spent HOURS meeting with draftees, on/off the field, doing background checks, etc., more than I’ll trust draft experts who never meet the kids.

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