Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Maycock directly called out his secondary unit heading into the 2021 season.
Since taking over as GM in 2019, Maycock has drafted nine defensive players — mostly defensive backs. The former New York Giants safety has used two first-round selections and six overall picks in attempts to bolster his struggling secondary.
So far, those investments have yet to yield any significant payout.
“We’ve expended some resources in our secondary,” Mayock said, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “We’ve got a first-round safety in John Abram — we got a second-round corner [Trayvon Mullen] who we think is going to be a very good football player. We’ve got a fourth-round corner in Amik Robertson, another first-round corner in Damon Arnette. . . . So, really, what we need more than anything is for all those players to take it up a notch or two. I’m talking about commitment to the game, work ethic, perseverance, being in the locker room working with your brothers.”
The Raiders currently have two second-year NFL players at No. 1 in the secondary depth chart. In 2020, first rounder Johnathan Abram and second rounder Trayvon Mullen combined for 150 tackles and four interceptions as starters.
While these two had solid sophomore seasons, the DB unit as a whole was sorely lacking this past year. The Raiders finished 30th in the league in points-allowed with 478, including 4,212 yards and 28 touchdowns through the air.
Just last month, the Las Vegas franchise hired a new defensive coordinator after firing Paul Guenther in Week 14. Former Seahawks/Chargers DC Gus Bradley will look to turn the struggling defensive unit around in 2021.
Some improved play in the secondary could bring the Raiders a long way.