Las Vegas cornerback still has time to avoid being a bust
Recently, The Athletic had an interesting nugget about where second-year cornerback Damon Arnette stands with the team.
And it wasn’t great …
Vic Tafur reported that Arnette — the No. 19 overall pick of the 2020 draft — may not feature in the teams’ longterm plans.
The Raiders drafted CB Damon Arnette in the first round last year, a pick experts called a reach.
Now, @VicTafur says that – after watching minicamp practices this week and talking to people in the building – Arnette has become almost an after-thought: https://t.co/oOEJrOybsC pic.twitter.com/cKnAY3dlVA
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) June 18, 2021
I’ve also heard that the Raiders may be running out of patience on Arnette for months. I get the feeling the team doesn’t know if it can count on him. Tafur’s reporting jibes with that.
Obviously, Arnette should be a firm starting cornerback going in his second season after being drafted so high. Yet he struggled to stay healthy as a rookie and he didn’t play well when he was on the field. After the season, the Raiders’ brass said they want him to get stronger. Now after the offseason, the word is the team isn’t thinking about him much at all.
It was interesting that the Raiders have brought in so many cornerbacks this offseason. They added veterans Casey Hayward, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Rasul Douglas and Devante Bausby, and they drafted Nate Hobbs in the fifth round.
Last week, coach Jon Gruden said the best players would play in the secondary, regardless of where they were drafted. That may have been a veiled shot at Arnette.
Still, because he is still on the roster, Arnette will have an opportunity to win the starting job. It will all play out in training camp. So he still has a chance regardless if the Raiders view him as an afterthought or not.
Of course, if Arnette doesn’t pan put, he will go down as a major bust. Making that scenario worse is that the Raiders bypassed several players to take him.
Pass rusher wide receiver Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings, 22), linebacker Kenneth Murray (Los Angeles Chargers, 23) and linebacker Patrick Queen (Baltimore Ravens, 28) all were outstanding as rookies and would have helped the Raiders. Arnette was widely considered a reach when he was drafted and nothing has changed that perception.
So, while Arnette still has time, his situation in Las Vegas may be tenuous.