Draft grades are the worst idea since mock drafts. It’s virtually impossible to grade a draft without seeing the players play a snap. As Las Vegas Raiders fans know, you just never know how even the surest prospects will fare. However, taking a look at team needs, value, and projections can be done, regardless of the collective thought.
A team with a plan is a breath of fresh air for Raider Nation. This is a franchise that has gone 20+ years without a clear plan for the future. The addition of Mike Mayock as the Raiders general manager has been absolutely vital. Head coach Jon Gruden still has a major say, and that’s clear, but the checks and balances system they have going seems to be working wonders.
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The reaches were there as always, but at least in this instance, the Raiders were able to grab athletes that filled a need, and the plan. It’s clear they need to catch-up, literally and figuratively, with the Kansas City Chiefs. They did this by adding talent and speed throughout the third day of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Below is my breakdown of how the Raiders accomplished this:
- Damon Arnette The Raiders backed themselves into a corner with misses on cornerbacks in free agency. However, Arnette is not a bad consolation prize. Coming into the draft, I said, the Raiders would take a scheme-specific corner, and it may not be the fan-favorite on the board. The Ohio State product fits exactly what Las Vegas likes to do on defense, and Paul Guenther has to be happy to finally get a few of his guys on the squad. He excels at press man-to-man but can play other techniques as well. The biggest knock on him is age and that he developed late, but he is one of the most pro-ready guys to come out this year. A secondary with Johnathan Abram, Amik Robertson, Trayvon Mullen, and Arnette gives the Raiders a youthful group of hitters moving forward.
- The WR Room Another area of this team that was on life-support coming into the weekend. At the end, Mayock and Gruden delivered. The Raiders were able to land Henry Ruggs III, Lynn Bowden Jr., and Bryan Edwards. All of which offer a skill set that should propel the offense. The speed that Ruggs and Bowden bring has to have Gruden’s mouth salivating at the idea of a track meet with their arch-rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. Nonetheless, the real gem here is South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards, who was considered a mid-late second round pick by most, and Las Vegas stole him in the middle of the three. Edwards is a beast and should offer quarterback Derek Carr and Gruden a red-zone target similar to Michael Crabtree, something Carr has been missing like a fat kid misses chocolate.
The “Okay” Good
- No Early Trades – Many folks really wanted to see the Raiders trade down in round one to get into the second. After the draft, trade offers leaked and the value just wasn’t there. In my opinion, the patience and stubbornness of Mayock and Gruden was nice to see. The idea that fans have that trading down is always good, is false. If the Raiders traded down to Tampa and netted a fifth and sixth in return, it would have been one of the worst value trade downs in the last ten years.
- Depth – Adding Amik Robertson and John Simpson in the mid-rounds gives the Raiders flexibility with the cap and with the roster as well. Big contracts that haven’t produced such as Gabe Jackson and LaMarcus Joyner now have competition and it might not be this year, but they have been put on notice.
- Tanner Muse – No disrespect to Muse, I like what he offers to an NFL team. In spite of that, the 100th pick was kind of a reach. Most draft analysts had him un-ranked, which to me had his value around the sixth or seventh round. Mayock and Gruden see him as a core special teamer, and a joker linebacker, a little underwhelming for a third-round pick. On the other hand, I give the front office props for trading down to get their guy and add an extra pick, which eventually led to them being able to land John Simpson and Amik Robertson. One thing Muse should be able to do is guarding a tight end, and in a division with Travis Kelce, Noah Fant, and Hunter Henry, that is vital.
I Love what the Raiders did. In a perfect world, you get three starters out of an NFL draft. I believe the Raiders potentially got four, and some depth out of this class. Robertson, Arnette, Edwards, and Ruggs, all have the potential to start sooner than later and that is a good thing.
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Top Photo: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
1 thought on “Complete Rundown: Raiders 2020 Draft Recap”
You hit the nail on the head, across the board. Like you said with respect to Muse: Special Teams and Special Missions. Especially TE coverage! Remember Obi Melifonwu? It’s a must have that hasn’t been achieved. Good article. RN4L