As the 2020 regular season comes to a close, the Oakland Raiders have proven that one draft class can ignite the fortunes of a team.
With one of the youngest rosters in the NFL, general manager Mike Mayock is seeking to add more spark to the team. Having five picks in the top 100 of the 2020 NFL Draft, expect the Raider front office to add more explosiveness to a group that is desperate for playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Is it too early to talk about draft? Considering that NFL scouts have been attending college games on a weekly basis, it is never too early. Next year, the Raiders will hold two first-round picks, both of them could result in the Raiders getting the help they need on offense and defense.
These are the two players that should have commissioner Roger Goodell instantly announce each Raiders pick:
Wide Receiver – Cedarian Lamb Oklahoma Sooners
Much has been said about Oakland’s wide receivers lack of productivity. Lamb can immediately bring rays of hope to an offense devoid of premier perimeter talent. He has proven at Oklahoma that if you give him the opportunity, he will reward you.
Baylor might want to work on its tackling.
CeeDee Lamb goes 71 yards.pic.twitter.com/ErdwK8URbM
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 (@sportingnews) December 7, 2019
On a route run less than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage, the Sooners receiver shows everything you need to know about him in one play.
- Route Running – Crisp, smooth, no hiccups, very fluid and precise.
- Hands – When he catches the ball, he doesn’t cradle it. Hands go away from the body to make the catch.
- Agility – As soon as he secures the ball, he makes a quick spin to lose the first defender.
- Explosiveness – Immediately after he loses the first defender, he accelerates rapidly along the sideline.
- Strength – I will admit, there’s some poor tackling going on here. At the same time, Lamb runs 71 yards and breaks 5 tackles without slowing down.
That was only one play, but you can imagine how his other routes developed as he has averaged 20.8 yards per reception this college football season. He is an instant playmaker that has everything Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has been looking for since the infamous Antonio Brown trade earlier this year.
With their second selection of the first round, Oakland selects:
Safety – Grant Delpit LSU Tigers
A safety? Why would the Raiders take a defensive back with a (likely) top 20 pick? The fact is Oakland’s roster has holes everywhere. This selection will likely be in the 10-15 selection range. As much as everyone would love a premier linebacker, the best one in the draft, Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons will be off the board by that point. Alabama’s Dylan Moses is a great backer as well, but it remains to be seen how his medical examination proceeds following a season ending knee injury. With that said, the Raiders current starting secondary has allowed a second to worst league average of 7.5 net passing yards per play. In addition, the they have given up the third most passing touchdowns (32) this season. More specifically, the safety position leaves much to be desired as there isn’t one on the roster that has exemplified the ability to consistently make plays. Erik Harris is an honorable mention because he has had his moments, but is overall inconsistent and lacks athleticism on the back end. Jonathan Abram is a wildcard and has large quantities of potential, but he can’t do it alone.
Grant Delpit is an elite defensive playmaker that can do anything he’s tasked to do, period. There are quite a few things that make him special.
Grant Delpit is a fantastic player. My preseason #1 player in the 2020 class. pic.twitter.com/EweZozfbcG
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) September 7, 2019
Delpit’s play recognition and instinct are both prevalent here. The safety recognized the play before the ball was snapped. As a result, he became a heat seeking missile. He coverd roughly 10 yards to bring the receiver down in the open field before he could even return to the line of scrimmage on third and two. When was the last time an Oakland’s safety make that kind of play?
LSU true sophomore safety Grant Delpit (6’3 203) – 73 tackles, 5 sacks, 5 INTs – has raaaaaange pic.twitter.com/AVyer5hG26
— Brad Kelly (@CoachBKelly) December 3, 2018
This is one of the more impressive plays you’ll see at any level of football. Incredibly rare to see anyone start from inside the hashes, backtrack that far and then make a sideline interception on a ball that was overthrown. Again, he read the play and displays his incredible athletic range from the safety position and makes an amazing play on the ball.
Perfectly timed blitz by LSU S Grant Delpit for a huge sack. pic.twitter.com/aJGLQyr0Hm
— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) December 7, 2019
As you can see, when Delpit is tasked to get to the backfield, he gets there in a hurry. When tasked with man coverage he’s more than capable as well. His one weakness is at times, he makes poor tackles and takes questionable angles, not everyone is perfect. As the 2019 Jim Thorpe Award winner (Best Defensive Back in College Football), the safety has shown his elite versatility on the Tigers defense.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron agrees that Delpit is the definition of unselfish and a true team player.
Grant Delpit has had to play more coverage this year than last, where he wrought havoc near the line of scrimmage, but he's thriving in the post.
5-of-9, 48 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT 31.0 NFL Rating when targeted.
Coach O: "Very unselfish…whatever it takes for the team." pic.twitter.com/ZPKV4Iu55T
— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) October 7, 2019
So where’s the reunion? Grant Delpit and CeeDee Lamb have proven to their respective programs that they are both elite playmakers. Before college, grass roots were established between the two as teammates in a middle school recreational organization called the Fort Bend Express in Texas. For three years, the two played together and developed a brotherly bond.
CeeDee Lamb says so:
That’s still my brother, Lamb said. “It was very fortunate that we kept the same relationship though high school and into college.” Via The Advocate
The two comrades will meet each other as opponents in the Peach Bowl on December the 28th in Atlanta for a bid to go to the National Title game. If the Raiders were to reunite the two after the College Football playoff ends, the Silver and Black would reap the rewards of a brotherly relationship in Las Vegas for years to come.
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