Raiders CB Mullen Settles Into Starting Spotlight

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Oakland Raiders CB Trayvon Mullen

While the Raiders await the Los Angeles Chargers of Carson, a quiet new era began. With Gareon Conley in Houston, the mantle of lead corner now falls to rookie Trayvon Mullen. Granted, Daryl Worley sees 94 percent of the defensive snaps, Mullen requires a bit more focus. The Chargers feature a pair of challenging wideouts in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. As a result, Mullen, in only his third start needs to catch up in a hurry.

The Change

Although pressure is nothing new to the former Clemson standout, NFL intensity must feel totally different. However, by all accounts, Mullen appears rather unbothered by the magnitude. In tonight’s game, he will encounter a former teammate. Mike Williams shared a year at Clemson with the Raiders’ DB. While Mullen did not see burn as a freshmen, he must be familiar with the explosive Charger wideout.

The Approach

If you look at his stats, Mullen profiles as a Paul Guenther corner. Like Leon Hall and William Jackson III, similar characteristics exist. First, Mullen’s length and build remains favorite of Guenther. He prefers taller corners that can contend without height disadvantages. Next, Mullen’s aggressive disposition lends itself to tackling. For years, everyone watched Gareon Conley miss open-field tackles with no improvement in sight. On the other hand, Mullen shows no fear, throwing his body into the fray to make the stop. Facing fourteen targets, Mullen made thirteen stops, missing no tackles.

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Need for Improvement

In Conley, the Raiders saw their lead corner miss tackles and generally suffer random torchings by opponents. Granted, Mullen didn’t suffer that same fate. Yet, opponents complete 68.4 percent of targets in his direction.That is to say, he doesn’t surrender the big play. However, teams nickle and dime him with the underneath routes. Mullen needs to take an occasional chance to jump a route.

Opportunity

With most of the eyes looking at the other 2019 Clemson draft pick, Mullen quietly assumed the role of expected standout. Phillip Rivers will locate Mullen, testing him at every turn. Mullen needs to make him pay for the temerity of trying. Overall, the Raiders look like the better team. Trayvon Mullen can help erase all doubt.

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