Now that the smoke has cleared, national publications will start to dissect what every single move NFL teams made in the 2020 NFL Draft, and the Las Vegas Raiders are no exception.
Just as he did last year, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock walked away from this year’s draft having put together an impressive class. The Raiders had pretty obvious holes at wide receiver and cornerback, and long-term concerns with the offensive line. All of them were addressed and now that the noise has gone down, the national media is starting to evaluate all classes, and the Raiders’ seems like they’re middle of the pack in some eyes.
For a better idea of what the media is looking at, here’s the 2020 Raiders class in its entirety.
- Henry Ruggs III, WR
- Damon Arnette, CB
- Lynn Bowden, WR/RB/QB
- Bryan Edwards, WR
- Tanner Muse, LB
- John Simpson, OG
- Amik Robertson, CB
As most fans can see, the two biggest needs were given priority. Head coach Jon Gruden got the weapons he needs to take his offense to the next level, the speedster Ruggs and triple-threat Bowden in particular. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was given two cornerbacks to shore up the secondary in what could be a crucial season for him. Meanwhile, offensive line coach Tom Cable received another nasty mauler in Simpson for him to groom as a long-term answer depending on what happens to veteran guard Gabe Jackson.
On the other hand, Dane Brugler of The Athletic wasn’t as impressed, ranking the Raiders’ haul as number 19 out of the league’s 32 teams.
When it came to the 12th pick, Brugler agrees with the consensus that Ruggs could be the next Tyreek Hill. Of course, it’ll be up to Gruden to exploit the Alabama product’s speed in his offense:
“The Raiders know better than most teams the impact that Tyreek Hill makes on a football game so they went out and found their own version. Ruggs has special athleticism and it will be fun to see how Jon Gruden incorporates his skills into the offense.”
When it came to judging the “worst” pick, Brugler joined in on the current consensus that the Arnette pick was a reach. Although not as harsh as Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus, the Athletic writer said, “I thought Arnette was a reach, which is why the Raiders aren’t higher on this list.” Only after Arnette sees the field will we know if the No. 19 selection was truly a boom or bust by Mayock. Either Arnette turns out to be a great number two corner like he did at Ohio State or he’ll be just “another corner.”
One pick that has Brugler excited is Simpson, believing he can be a starter sooner than expected.
“…Mayock unsurprisingly added two Clemson players in this draft, including Simpson who was my No. 2 rated guard. With the future of Gabe Jackson in Las Vegas up in the air, Simpson could be a starter sooner than expected and I’ll bet he outplays his draft spot.”
As with any other draft class, it takes at least two to three years to give a full unbiased review. For all we know, half of these player won’t even make it to Year 3 with the Raiders, and at this point, anything’s possible. The Arnette criticisms aside, judging from the quality and possibilities these picks bring, it could be that Mayock has hit home runs in back-to-back drafts.
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