NFL

Raiders’ Gruden on drafting Arnette: ‘Just look at his tape’

4The Las Vegas Raiders raised a few eyebrows following their selection of Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette with their second pick in the first round of last month’s NFL draft.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden, however, defended the Raiders’ decision to take Arnette with the 19th overall pick.

“I just look at his tape,” Gruden told the San Jose Mercury News. “I’ve heard people say, ‘He’s not a first-round pick on our board.’ Well, whose board are we talking about? Then if you’re in to analytics, according to ProFootballFocus.com, he had the best QB rating against him of any corner in the draft.

“I mean, he’s a hell of a player. That’s why I like him. He played at Ohio State. He played big in big games. He’s an excellent tackler, a confident corner. He’s comfortable in bump and run. When we watched him play against good receivers he played good. And he just gives us something we need, something we cherish here. A physical, press confident corner that’s not afraid to hit you.”

Gruden’s assessment is in line with that of general manager Mike Mayock, who said he liked Arnette just as much as Jeffrey Okudah, another Ohio State cornerback who was the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

“I liked Arnette as much as Okudah,” Mayock said in an interview with SiriusXM earlier this month. “If you look at the production, Arnette’s got more production. He played last year hurt with a broken right wrist. I think he is the best tackler in this draft. I think he is an old-school bump-and-run Raiders cornerback that’s physical and nasty.”

Arnette, who is listed at 6 feet and 195 pounds, recorded 35 tackles and one interception in 13 games last season with the Buckeyes. He earned all-Big Ten Conference honors three times, including second-team accolades by the coaches and media votes in 2019.

–Field Level Media

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