The Raiders caught a lot of people off guard when they selected cornerback Damon Arnette with their second pick in this year’s first round.
Arnette’s play at Ohio State left most people projecting he’d come off the board on the second day of the draft, which led to questions for General Manager Mike Mayock about why the team didn’t trade down if they were set on taking Arnette. Mayock said the Raiders didn’t want to risk losing him and head coach Jon Gruden didn’t make it sound like there was any doubt about the move in his mind.
“I just look at his tape,” Gruden said to Jerry McDonald of the San Jose Mercury News. “I’ve heard people say, ‘he’s not a first-round pick on our board.’ Well, whose board are we talking about? Then if you’re in to analytics, according to Profootballfocus.com he had the the best QB rating against him of any corner in the draft. I mean, he’s a hell of a player. That’s why I like him. He played at Ohio State. He played big in big games. He’s an excellent tackler, a confident corner. He’s comfortable in bump and run. When we watched him play against good receivers he played good. And he just gives us something we need, something we cherish here. A physical, press confident corner that’s not afraid to hit you.”
Many of the moves the Raiders have made since Gruden returned to the team in 2018 have drawn criticism from outside the organization. Some has proven to be unjustified and Arnette will get his chance to put his selection in that column once the Raiders are back on the field.