Last season, the Raiders’ defense was subpar when the ball was in the air.
The Raiders must strengthen their pass defense in the upcoming season, as they allowed the fourth-most passing yards in the NFL, had the fewest interceptions (six) and allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game.
General Manager Dave Ziegler made several offseason moves to reflect his opinion on the team’s cornerback position, including the acquisition of three new cornerbacks and the selection of one in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Today, we will take a closer look at the Silver and Black’s new cornerback additions and assess their potential for development in 2023.
David Long Jr. inked a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Raiders after spending four years with the Los Angeles Rams. Long has recorded 70 tackles, seven pass breakups, and one interception in his career. Long was predominantly called upon on passing downs, so he should assist the Raiders’ secondary in the passing game.
The Las Vegas Raiders strengthened their secondary with the addition of four cornerbacks.
Additionally, the team inked Brandon Facyson, who returns for a second tenure with the Raiders. In Las Vegas in 2021, Facyson recorded 55 tackles, two tackles for loss, 13 pass breakups, and an interception.
Also in 2021, quarterbacks completed 59% of their passes against Facyson, a career high. Facyson returns to the Raiders as the cornerback room’s most seasoned veteran and can use his leadership to unite the unit.
Duke Shelley, who had a successful season as a rotational player for the Minnesota Vikings, is the third cornerback the Raiders signed during free agency. Last season, Shelley broke up eight passes, recorded an interception, and made 31 tackles. When targeted, he only allowed a 48% completion percentage, so he should also assist the Raiders in the air.
The Raiders drafted cornerback Jakorian Bennett of Maryland with the 104th overall selection. Bennett is possibly already the most explosive athlete in the cornerback corps.
At the NFL Combine, he recorded a vertical leap of 40.5 inches and a 40-yard sprint of 4.3 seconds. As a freshman, he should spend a lot of time on the field due to his ability as a tackler.
The Raiders’ cornerback unit has undergone a number of upgrades, which should be reflected on the field as their passing defense statistics rise from the bottom of the league.
The following is the Raiders’ offseason exercise schedule.
May 22-23, May 25, May 31-June 2, and June 12-15 are the dates for OTA offseason exercises.
Required Minicamp: June 6-8