A time will come — and ideally, it will soon — when the rookie the Raiders are relying upon in their starting defense is Gareon Conley. He is the big name. He is the first-round pick.

For now, it is Breon Borders’ time.

He is making a name for himself.

Borders, an undrafted rookie from Duke, worked Tuesday with the Raiders’ first-team defense for the fourth straight practice. His focus has been nickel cornerback, manning the slot while Conley fends off shin splits and TJ Carrie replaces underperforming Sean Smith at boundary corner.

While outside factors have influenced his workload, Borders isn’t merely the benefactor of circumstance.

He earned this.

“Some guys just come in with a serious, no-nonsense approach to their game and their preparation,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “He strikes me that way as a guy that’s very conscientious, works very hard. I think Breon is having a nice camp. Obviously, he’s running with the ones right now a little bit. He certainly hasn’t won anything. Things are far from settled.

“He was doing so well against the twos and threes, I wanted to see him against some of the better guys. It’ll give us some good tape to evaluate. I think he’s done a nice job of coming in here and being kind of a serious guy that has some competitive grit to him.”

Borders has proven adaptable, too.

Prior to joining the Raiders, Borders was a three-year starter at Duke who saw time on special teams. He never worked at nickel corner, he said.

The 22-year-old echoed a number of NFL veterans when saying that the nickel position is more difficult than outside cornerback. This largely is because receivers have a two-way go off the line of scrimmage, their route path being less predictable as a result. Slot receivers also tend to be quicker in and out of their route-running breaks.