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Raiders meet with Jeff Okudah, A.J. Terrell at NFL combine

Updated February 28, 2020 - 4:09 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — While most have projected that the Raiders will select a wide receiver with their top pick in the first round of the NFL draft, the team has met with at least two of the top cornerbacks at the scouting combine.

Jeff Okudah and A.J. Terrell said Friday that they’ve had meetings with the Raiders this week.

Okudah, who starred at Ohio State, is widely considered the top cornerback in the draft class. He was a unanimous All-America selection last season as a junior and had nine passes defensed, three interceptions and a forced fumble.

Terrell is also entering the league after three years at Clemson. He intercepted six career passes — two in 2019 — and recorded 13 career passes defensed.

The Raiders drafted cornerback Trayvon Mullen in the second round last year, but they could have an opening opposite him. Pending unrestricted free agent Daryl Worley spent most of the season as a starting corner, but shifted to safety toward the end of the season as the Raiders battled injuries in their secondary.

Lawson re-signed

Las Vegas re-signed cornerback Nevin Lawson to a one-year deal after he displayed an ability to be a depth piece down the stretch, with four passes defensed in a victory over the Chargers. And Isaiah Johnson, a fourth-round pick in 2019, has to further develop to become a full-time starter.

All that adds up to the Raiders doing their due diligence with some of the top talent at cornerback.

And with that, Okudah described a moment during his meeting with coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock that made him feel like his transition to the NFL was truly happening.

“It was really good because Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden — they love football. So being around them, they saw that I love football,” Okudah said. “I’m talking football with Jon Gruden, and he says, ‘Hey, man, are you from planet Earth?’ And it’s just crazy to think about it like that because he’s been around some great football minds. And for him to say that, it was kind of like, ‘You’re here, man.’ ”

Okudah described himself as a cerebral, quiet player on the field. But he admitted he gets excited when he makes a play.

“I just snap,” he said.

‘Pinky deformation’

Okudah was the subject of an eye-raising comment when he was getting measured. His right pinky was announced as having a “pinky deformation,” because it sticks out from a dislocation when he was in high school.

But it doesn’t impact the way he plays.

“I love all my fingers the same,” Okudah said with a laugh.

Terrell has plenty of former Clemson teammates on the Raiders’ roster, including Mullen. Terrell said he looks up to Mullen as a “big brother” and said the two could have some advantages if they played together in the NFL.

“Trayvon knows who I am, I know who he is. So being the kind of partner to him, that would be great, too,” Terrell said. “We always chop it up from time to time and see where each other’s at.”

Feeling Gruden’s energy

Like most of the combine athletes who have met with the Raiders, Terrell said he could feel Gruden’s energy during their meeting.

“He’s a solid guy. He always wants the best out of you, and I just felt that immediately,” Terrell said.

Terrell could be more in play for the Raiders in the middle of the first round. But given Okudah’s draft stock, the Raiders, who have picks 12 and 19 in the first round, might have to trade up to get him.

Contact Myles Simmons at msimmons@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @MylesASimmons on Twitter.

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