Take Five: 2019 Cornerbacks

The “Take Five” series aims to preview prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft.

These names will appear in a one-through-five order and “ranked”, but given the publish date, thoughts and opinions are far from finalized. Rather, it is best to use this list as a starting point of sorts, in order to get familiar with some of the top names in the class and how they might satisfy a need and fit on the Raiders’ roster.

Currently, the Raiders’ depth chart reads as follows:

Gareon Conley — Arguably a top 10 or 15 player prior to the allegations which were later dismissed. Talent is there, hopefully health’s on his side now too.

Rashaan Melvin — Coming off of his best year as a pro in Indianapolis, Melvin is attempting to parlay a one-year deal into a more lucrative contract.

Nick Nelson — Productive college player who was dinged due to injury. Could be serviceable depth if the growth is there.

Leon Hall — Former Bengal. Brings experience and familiarity. Turns 34 in December.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie — He’ll be 33 in April, so he’ll continue to fit right in.

Daryl Worley — Talented, but off-field issues drove him out of Carolina. Coming off a four-game suspension to start his career in Oakland. Shockingly, will be only 24 in February.

Looking ahead:

Oakland hasn’t had a cornerback of note since the legendary Nnamdi Asomugha secured the bag on his way to Philadelphia (where the Eagles would inexplicably put him in zone). Rashaan Melvin is working on proving that his one, good year as a pro in Indianapolis wasn’t a fluke and high-ceiling sophomore Gareon Conley is just trying to stay available. At the end of the day, Oakland should once again be targeting an early-option in the draft to pair opposite Conley (or, if things go south health-wise, a new starter).

Early “top 5” prospects: 

Andraez “Greedy” Williams, Louisiana State, Redshirt Sophomore — The consensus, and the next in line (of a long line) of talented Tigers defensive backs. Williams’ planted his flag firmly last year, allowing only one touchdown and giving up more than 45 yards in just one contest (in over 400 coverage snaps, per PFF). Tacked in 6 interceptions, too. Stud, with true lockdown potential.

Byron Murphy III, Washington, Redshirt Sophomore — Speaking of “next up”, Washington’s been pumping some serious secondary talent into the league over the past few seasons. Murphy definitely has next, and his early-season production is elite, detailed by young Benny Solak here. He’s going to continue to rise.

Deandre Baker, Georgia, Senior — Baker stood out on last year’s Roquan Smith-led defense and now, in 2018, is picking up right where he left off and playing even better ball. PFF’s number 4 overall prospect as things currently sit, Baker has notched 2 interceptions and another 2 pass break-up’s thus far.

Amani Oruwariye, Pennsylvania State, Redshirt Senior — Listed at just over 6-0, and 209 pounds (per NFL Draft Scout), Oruwariye will be one of the size-speed specimens this cycle, I imagine. Ball skills standout, as well. Coach Franklin has compared the Nittany Lion to one of his former players (and current Charger) by way of Vanderbilt — high praise.

Julian Love, Notre Dame, Junior — We’ve already highlighted Murphy’s production (8 passes defensed through four games), which is awesome. As of this writing, Love is tied second for passes defensed with 10. He had 20 last year. For reference’s sake, in 2017, cornerback and top-five selection Denzel Ward had 15 total. Love stands at a touch over 5-10, so he may end up being a slot-only option in the end — TBD.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive