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Raiders Jon Gruden Trusts Young Cornerbacks and Receivers Will Deliver

Scott Gulbransen
Raiders Jon Gruden young cornerbacks

As the Raiders Jon Gruden continues to buck misconceptions about his propensity to favor veteran players, he feels comfortable heading into 2020 with young players leading his cornerback and wide receiver room.

When the Las Vegas Raiders cut veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara on Sunday, some were surprised. The Raiders Jon Gruden has always liked veteran players over young talent the pundits claimed. Yet clearly Gruden 2.0 in the silver and black is trusting in his own process and the talent evaluation of his general manager Mike Mayock.

The Las Vegas Raiders Jon Gruden Zay Jones
The Raiders Jon Gruden had high praise for his young secondary but also for WR Zay Jones.

The emergence of rookie Damon Arnette, coupled with the strong end to 2019 the Raiders Jon Gruden saw out of second-year pro Trayvon Mullen, meant it was time for the veteran Amukamara to find a new zip code.

“We’re just keeping the best guys, that’s all we’re doing,” Gruden said. “Prince is a good player and I’m sure he’ll latch on with somebody but we’re going to be young. I’ve been criticized for being too old (favoring veteran players) but we’re going to keep the best players and keep trying to develop them.”

Still, the Raiders do have some experience in the defensive backfield including safeties Damarious Randall and Lamarcus Joyner who bring leadership and savvy. Add in second-year “rookie” Jonathan Abram, and the unit is young but very confident. The addition of Arnette and fellow rookie Amik Robertson has Abram excited about this year’s squad.

“Damon is a tremendous, tremendous, tremendous player,” Abram said. “And Amik Robertson…he just wants to learn, get better. Those two are going to be great and just do things you can’t coach.”

The Raiders Jon Gruden is also taking a similar approach at wide receiver where veteran Tyrell Williams has been lost for the year and the team appears prepared to go to battle with the soldiers on hand.

The talk of Las Vegas Raiders training camp has been big South Carolina wideout Bryan Edwards. Edwards was pushing Williams for playing time anyways and now appears ready to get some good time from the get go. But some other tools at Derek Carr’s disposal include veterans Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones. Jones garnered a long and praising answer from Gruden when asked who will fill the void due to the Tyrell Williams injury.

“We just hope our young receivers can get done what our young DBs have to get done,” Gruden said. “Zay Jones is probably the most improved player on the offense. He’s done a great job getting himself quicker, and getting himself into premier shape.

And while the receivers aren’t as much a question mark as the the Raiders Jon Gruden cornerback corps, the coach feels good about heading into 2020 with a young but very talented group.

“We hope we have the makings of a good, young secondary that can be great someday,” Gruden said. “They’re going to be tested, we know that. But we didn’t draft these guys to stand on the sideline.”