Oakland Raiders: Early 3-round 2019 NFL mock draft brings needed help

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images /
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Oakland Raiders
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images /

With the Rashaan Melvin experiment not exactly working out, we shouldn’t expect to see him back in Silver and Black next season.

With Gareon Conley healthy and looking like an elite-level cornerback, the Raiders will need somebody to pair with him. And while we should probably expect that Gruden will look to find a veteran to address the immediate need, selecting another young playmaking corner should be high on his to-do list as well.

Enter Deandre Baker. At 5-11, 185 pounds, he’s not the biggest guy around. But he’s got tremendous athleticism and speed to burn. He’s also got tremendous instincts, recognizes routes very well, and does a good job of reading the receivers he’s shadowing. He’s also strong and a willing tackler.

Over his 36-game career with Georgia, Baker has emerged as the No. 1 corner in one of the country’s toughest divisions. He’s racked up seven interceptions and 23 passes defensed over his career, and has developed a reputation as a tough, very reliable cover corner.

A tandem of Conley and Baker on the outside and perhaps Nick Nelson playing the slot – though, don’t rule out Daryl Worley who hasn’t been too bad this year as well – and the Raiders’ secondary could be a hugely transformed and much more effective unit in 2019.