Oakland Raiders: Rookie report card at the midway point of the season

Oakland Raiders (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Oakland Raiders (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

2nd Round, 40th Overall — Trayvon Mullen, CB

Trayvon Mullen had an ugly start to the season giving up three catches and a touchdown and as a result, was demoted down the depth chart following that performance. In the subsequent five games, he saw defensive snaps sparingly, mostly just playing on special teams.

That was until the Raiders traded cornerback Gareon Conley to the Houston Texans for a third-round pick before their Week 7 game against the team they traded him to, the Houston Texans.

The trade thrust Mullen into a starting position, and in the two games since, the Clemson product has played admirably. In his first career start against the Texans, Mullen was given the tall task of having to cover dynamic receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills.

Mullen only gave up two catches for 10 yards — both short completions in zone coverage.

His ability to tackle is something that is needed in the Raiders’ zone-heavy scheme as the cornerbacks constantly play way off which is designed to give up the underneath as long as they can close in fast and make the tackle for minimal yardage.

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Mullen’s skill set is perfect for that.

The Lions game showed exactly that as he finished with six solo tackles which brings his season total to 12. That is more than defensive end Clelin Ferrell despite the fact that Mullen has only seen significant playing time in three games.

Mullen had a quiet game against the Lions when it comes to pass coverage, which is usually a good thing. And in this case, it was as the rookie was not targeted much.

The selection of Trayvon Mullen in the second round was another pick that many fans did not like as there were bigger named players on the board.

But so far it looks like Mayock and Gruden were on to something.

Grade: B-