The Las Vegas Raiders will be looking to address the cornerback position in the 2020 NFL Draft and Utah’s Jaylon Johnson makes sense as a target.
Johnson has been rising up draft boards as of late with many believing he could ultimately be taken in the first round come later this month.
And on a recent edition of the Stick to Football podcast with Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, Johnson revealed an interesting tidbit about where he believes he’ll end up.
Johnson indicated that he has a hunch that he will be drafted by the Raiders later this month when asked by Miller. Miller and his two co-hosts made sure to point out how great of a fit this would be.
In many ways, Johnson is a prototypical Mike Mayock cornerback and a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s unit. He embodies the word physical whether it be with his run support, tackling, or press-man skills.
What he lacks in deep speed he more than makes up for with toughness and his size and cover skills will likely lead to some team taking on a chance on him earlier than expected.
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In fact, Johnson would likely be considered a sure-fire Day 1 pick if not for a torn labrum he underwent surgery for back in March. The injury was actually sustained back in September, but Johnson fought through the pain to play the entire season regardless.
His grit, toughness, and physicality make him an ideal draft target to start opposite Trayvon Mullen at cornerback.
After the Eli Apple deal fell through, the Raiders’ need at cornerback became even more pressing than it already was. Behind Mullen sits a heap of unproven or lackluster options who shouldn’t be relied on as starting options in 2020.
Johnson indicated that the Raiders did plenty of pre-draft work on him and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team make him a priority early on. The question is, however, would they possibly take him with their second first-round selection?
There’s no doubt that Johnson’s draft stock has been rising, but it’s still not a guarantee that he goes on Day 1. But without a second-round pick, the Raiders likely wouldn’t be able to wait until the third round to pick him up.
That leaves the team with two options — assuming they don’t shock everyone and take him with their No. 12 overall selection. They could either take him at No. 19 and not worry about “over-drafting” or trade down — possibly into the second round — and hope he’s still available then.
Knowing Mayock and basing it off of what he did last year with Clelin Ferrell, the former seems more likely.
While most Raiders fans have had their eyes on players like C.J. Henderson, Trevon Diggs, Kristian Fulton, and A.J. Terrell, Johnson might be the most likely to be wearing a Raiders jersey when all is set and done.
And much like Johnathan Abram last year, expect Johnson to become a fan-favorite before long because of his physical playstyle.
That is assuming his hunch is correct, of course.