Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders came under fire in 2018 for some player moves they made. They traded their star defensive player Khalil Mack and their star wide receiver Amari Cooper. Getting two first round picks from the Bears for Mack and a first round pick for Cooper gave the Raiders a chance to reload. That is exactly what Gruden and new general manager Mike Mayock did in 2019.
This year’s first rounders have already made an impact. Josh Jacobs appears to be a star in the making and is the Raiders most complete back since Charlie Garner. Clelin Ferrell has shown his ability to play outside at defensive end and slide inside on passing downs at defensive tackle. Johnathan Abram has definitely shown he can be a tone setter. Unfortunately, he is out for the season after tearing his rotator cuff in the opener versus the Denver Broncos.
This brings us to the 2020 draft class. The Raiders have two first round picks, two third round picks, a fourth round pick, a fifth round pick, a sixth round pick and a seventh round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. The Miami Dolphins are having a fire sale. Players such as Minkah Fitzpatrick, their first rounder from last year, got traded to Pittsburgh after the team appeared to be going tank mode. Jalen Ramsey, the talented cornerback from Jacksonville, also wants out since his team has been struggling.
Adding players such as Fitzpatrick or Ramsey would be great additions to the team and would immediately be seen as upgrades. But at what cost? Fitzpatrick cost the Steelers a first rounder and then swapped some mid round picks. Ramsey, I am assuming, would cost something similar. My concern is, if the Raider season goes south, would Ramsey or another potential player on the move like Jamal Adams become malcontents?
Next year, there will be some positions the Raiders must improve. There will be players on the defensive side of the ball like defensive ends AJ Epenesa from Iowa and Chase Young from Ohio State that can be had. As well as, possible safety Grant Delpit from LSU and outside linebacker Isaiah Simmons from Clemson.
On the offensive side of the ball, Tyrell Williams needs help after Antonio Brown bailed. There will also be some nice wide receivers available like Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III from Alabama, Tee Higgins from Clemson, CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma, and Laviska Shenault from Colorado in the first round. Adding one of these game breakers certainly would make Derek Carr’s life a little easier.
Lastly, don’t forget about all the money that was saved from cutting Brown. Yes, it cost the Raiders third and fifth round picks but now the Raiders will have approximately $91 million available cap space for next year, according to spotrac.com. With the team heading to Vegas with all that money, you can fill in the gaps to your team while developing your young talent with your draft picks.