Keisean Nixon

Raiders Place CBs Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette On IR

Injuries are set to deplete the Raiders’ cornerback group. Las Vegas will be without Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette for at least the next three games, with both having been placed on IR Saturday.

A foot injury left Mullen sidelined this week, while Arnette is dealing with a groin issue. The Raiders ruled both out for Week 5. This stalls a nice start for Mullen. For Arnette, this represents another setback in an underwhelming start to his career.

A second-round pick in 2019, Mullen became part of the Raiders’ Clemson-heavy draft that year. Mullen reprised his role as a starter this season, being a first-unit player in new DC Gus Bradley‘s defense. Pro Football Focus graded Mullen as a top-25 corner through four games, with the third-year defender joining Casey Hayward and Nate Hobbs in an atypically strong Raiders coverage corps.

One of this Raider regime’s surprise first-round picks, Arnette has not seen the field much in his second season. The Ohio State product has played just 60 defensive snaps through four games. While the Raiders tried him as a starter for much of his 2020 season, Arnette suffered a thumb injury during his rookie training camp and then aggravated the issue later. He played nine games last season. Thus far in 2021, Arnette has joined fellow Jon GrudenMike Mayock first-rounder Clelin Ferrell as a seldom-used backup.

The Raiders also activated running back Jalen Richard and cornerback Keisean Nixon from IR. Set to begin his sixth season with the Raiders, Richard returned to practice last week. It will be interesting to see how the Raiders use Richard, given Kenyan Drake‘s presence, but the shifty reserve’s re-emergence should at least help for depth purposes. Peyton Barber is set to miss time with turf toe.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Place LB Nick Morrow, RB Jalen Richard On IR

The Raiders are placing four players on IR. Running back Jalen Richard, linebacker Nick Morrow, and defensive backs Keisean Nixon and Javin White will be shelved for at least the first three weeks of the season, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). To take the open roster spots, the team has signed offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor and re-signed both tight end Derek Carrier and safety Dallin Leavitt. (via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez on Twitter).

Richard has spent five seasons with the Raiders, including a 2018 campaign where he finished with 866 yards from scrimmage. He hasn’t been able to match that production over the past two years, combining for only 729 yards from scrimmage in 29 games. The 27-year-old is expected to be a primary backup to Josh Jacobs for another season in 2021.

Morrow had a career year for the Raiders in 2020, finishing with career-highs across the board. The linebacker has been dealing with a foot injury since late August, and he was expected to be sidelined for the start of the regular season. The team brought in some reinforcement at the position today when they signed veteran K.J. Wright.

Nixon has appeared in 29 games for the Raiders over the past two years, turning into one of the team’s special teams stalwarts. White, a 2020 undrafted free agent out of UNLV, got into four games with the Raiders as a rookie.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Sign 10 UDFAs

Teams continue to announce their undrafted free agent hauls. Here is the Raiders’ 10-man contingent:

Going heavy on offensive linemen after a nine-player draft did not bring any blockers, the Raiders added some big-school talent with extensive starting experience. Cotton started 28 games for the Crimson Tide, at both left and right guard, helping Bo Scarbrough, Damien Harris and Raiders first-rounder Josh Jacobs to big per-carry numbers. McNeil has both guard and tackle experience and was a key presence (46 starts in a four-year career) in helping Lamar Jackson to two dominant seasons with the Cardinals.

The duo, along with James and Roemer, will battle to join 2018 second-round pick Brandon Parker among the Raiders’ backup linemen. With Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict signed to one-year deals, the Raiders’ Las Vegas tenure may need some new blood at linebacker. The Raiders did not draft one, so Coney (two 100-plus-tackle seasons with the Fighting Irish) and Farmer (28 starts with the Nittany Lions) figure to be candidates to stick around via the 53-man roster or, more likely, the practice squad.

Doss said he received better offers than what the Raiders proposed, but UC Davis’ all-time receiving leader opted to play for his hometown team (before it relocates to Vegas next year). Jon Gruden mentioned pre-draft that he wanted to add at least one more cornerback to the roster, but the Raiders drafted both Trayvon Mullen (in Round 2) and Isaiah Johnson (in Round 4). That will make Mabin and Nixon’s paths to the active roster difficult.