The Oakland Raiders are hoping to make some major changes on both sides of the ball. Bringing in veteran players like Antonio Brown and Lamarcus Joyner are a great step in the right direction.
However, veterans can only take a team so far. Teams that want to succeed need to build through the draft. The Raiders used their nine 2019 draft picks in hopes of making the necessary improvements.
One player the Raiders selected was former University of Houston cornerback Isaiah Johnson. Johnson could be one of the big steals of the 2019 draft, according to Michael Renner of profootballfocus.com:
“Johnson was seen as one of the draft’s biggest boom-or-bust prospects, though securing him in the fourth-round eliminates much of the bust risk. That low investment could pay big dividends with Johnson’s traits. At 6-foot-2, 208 pounds with 33” arms, a 4.40-second 40-yard dash, 11′-1″ broad jump, 6.81 three-cone and 4.06 short shuttle, Johnson is how you’d build an ideal cornerback. He simply needs some seasoning after moving to corner from receiver only two years ago.”
Johnson’s physical prowess will certainly help him in the defensive scheme of the Raiders. Johnson grabbed four interception in his two years as cornerback.
The Raiders grabbed a total of 14 interceptions last year, good for 14th overall in the league. However, the team also allowed 36 passing touchdowns in 2018, the most in the league. Those 36 touchdowns were part of the reason the team ended up allowing the most total points throughout the year. Johnson should help to alleviate some of the teams defensive woes.
As previously mentioned, Johnson spent his first two years at the University of Houston at wide receiver. Johnson never recorded any touchdowns in his two years, but did grab 15 receptions in his sophomore season.
The move to cornerback proved to be a great transition for him. Johnson put up 115 total tackles during his collegiate career. His senior year alone he put up 50 solo tackles.
Johnson will have his share of competition at the cornerback. Last year, Gareon Conley, Marcus Gilchrist, Rashaan Melvin, and Daryl Worley all saw significant time at cornerback and each nabbed at least one interception.
He will also have to compete with his fellow Raiders rookie, Trayvon Mullen. Mullen was a part of the 2016 and 2018 University of Clemson college football championship teams. Mullen also grabbed four interceptions during his time in college. Johnson has about 10 pounds on Mullen, which could prove to be a difference maker on the field.