The Las Vegas Raiders were given a low grade for their 2019 NFL Draft haul. Looking back, they should have gotten a better mark and they have retroactively been given one.
Last year, the Raiders selected three players in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft and got contributors such as Maxx Crosby, Foster Moreau and Hunter Renfrow later in the process. One would assume they would get good reviews for it, but Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave them a below-average grade at the moment.
Regarding the Raiders’ 2019 first-round choices, PFF said, “Arizona must have had Pro Football Focus’ 2019 NFL Draft Guide in hand for Days 1 & 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft; Oakland’s brass must have lost it. The Raiders drafted high-character, quality football players with each of their first four picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, but they drafted each of them a handful of picks before we at PFF would have selected them.”
Lead analyst Mike Renner was critical of their first pick in the draft, [Ferrell] lacks explosion… I didn’t see high-end reps. You didn’t see the dominant type of games… I can’t believe it. I cannot believe this was the pick.” To Renner’s credit, Ferrell didn’t have the kind of impact a fourth overall pick is expected to have.
PFF kept the same theme when talking about the rest of the Raiders 2019 draft class.
About running Josh Jacobs:
“Even when a running back, a Saquon Barkley, does a tremendous job, as he did last year, it’s just hard to move the needle because of what the running back position does.” – Pro Football Focus’ George Chahrouri
Safety Johnathan Abram was no different:
“He’s great in run-and-hit situations. He plays like his hair’s on fire… He’s bringing attitude to your defense. In terms of coverage ability, he gives you the least valuable thing a safety can bring to the table, and that’s box-underneath-zone ability.” – Pro Football Focus’ Lead Draft Analyst Mike Renner
If anything, they saw Maxx Crosby had potential, “a favorite of Mike Renner’s, as a freakish athlete with quality production and grading, to boot. He has some of the best bend of any edge rusher in this class. He earned grades of 88.2 and 90.6 the past two seasons.”
Jacobs and Crosby ended up becoming finalists for offensive and defensive rookie of the year awards respectively, Moreau showed he can be a red-zone target and Renfrow found momentum towards the end of the 2019 season.
One year later, PFF upgraded the Raiders 2019 draft class from below average to mixed bag. Their reason is that Las Vegas had so much capital, it would have been difficult for them to mess things up and were going to bring in talent no matter what:
The thing about the Raiders’ draft last year was that with far and away the most draft capital of any franchise in the league, they were always going to add talent. So far, though, they’ve gotten impact from one of three first-rounders — and that was from a running back.
Mixed bag definitely beats below average, but the PFF crew is right, the Raiders need to get more out of Abram and Ferrell in 2020. If the sophomores become impact players for their defense, not only their PFF grade will go up but the team’s winning total as well.
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