It’s no secret that the Oakland Raiders’ 2019 season was an injury-ridden one as a number of key players missed time, which contributed to a 7-9 record.
Now that the offseason is here, many players will be using the next few weeks to get healthy. One of those players is rookie cornerback Isaiah Johnson.
Johnson shared on his personal social media accounts that he underwent a minor back surgery and will begin the recovery process:
Thank god for a safe (minor) back surgery today. Now it’s time for a Road to a great recovery. Time to give #Raidernation the best healthy Zay they could ask for. Let’s take over 2020 🙌🏾 . (Yes I’ll be ready and better than before) pic.twitter.com/5Qm7lFupYy
— Isaiah Johnson 🏁 (@_bigplayzay) January 15, 2020
Although there is no official word on what kind of procedure it was, Johnson did not appear to have any kind of injury during his last few appearances. Johnson only appeared in five games this season, sitting out until Week 10 due to a facial injury suffered in the preseason.
The Raiders acquired Johnson via a draft-day trade with the Dallas Cowboys, swapping picks in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent four years at the University of Houston but was initially slotted to play wide receiver. He spent two years on offense before switching over to cornerback, where he excelled. In those two years, he totaled 88 solo tackles and four interceptions, enough to earn him a place in the NFL draft combine.
Johnson’s injury left the Raiders defense especially depleted. After they traded Gareon Conley to the Houston Texans, Oakland really could have used Johnson’s services.
However, Trayvon Mullen emerged as the premier rookie cornerback and earned a starting position in the second half of the season. Johnson ended up seeing very limited time playing special teams, and even less time with the defense.
It will be interesting to see how Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock re-tool their defense in 2020. The Raiders had one of the best rush defenses in the NFL but one of the worst passing defenses.
If Johnson could get healthy, then he should have an opportunity to compete for a starting spot in 2020.