Parry Nickerson won’t be a first-round pick when the NFL draft begins on April 26.
The Tulane cornerback is projected by most as a mid-round selection, so the Raiders are likely to make two or three picks before Nickerson’s name is announced on Day 2 or 3 of the selection process. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com projects Nickerson to go in the third or fourth round.
But Nickerson visited the Raiders Monday, to meet with general manager Reggie McKenzie and others, reported Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, and some see Nickerson as a potentially good fit in the Oakland secondary.
Nickerson isn’t big at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, but he tied for the fastest time of any player at this year’s NFL combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.32 seconds. He could be a candidate for the Raiders in the middle rounds and compete for a job as the team’s slot corner as a rookie.
Nickerson not only is fast, but productive. At Tulane, Nickerson had 10 interceptions over his final two seasons and 12 passes defensed while allowing NFL passer ratings of just 32.5 (2016) and 41.0 (2017) on throws to his receivers.
The Raiders go into 2018 with Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin expected to be the top two cornerbacks, but the Raiders need more depth and competition during training camp, and Nickerson could provide a player with big upside. Zierlein’s scouting report on Nickerson lauds his ball skills, speed and gritty playing style, as well as his toughness, and indicates Nickerson could be a “nickel cornerback early in his career.”
Recently, at Tulane’s pro day for NFL scouts, Nickerson said he’s confident he can play in the NFL and make an impact after watching other top-notch cornerbacks at the combine.
“I know I can do similar than not better than those guys,” he told the New Orleans Advocate. “I want to go in the first three rounds, but it doesn’t matter as long as I get my foot in the door. I’m going to do the rest.”