This past April, the Las Vegas Raiders managed to only select players in the first four rounds of the 2020 NFL draft. On Friday, the NFL and NFLPA reached an agreement regarding Covid-19 safety precautions for the upcoming season. As a result, the team’s route to acquire early draft capital is proving to be wise.
A savvy April prediction
The Raiders initially possessed two fifth-round selections to close out their draft. However, they completed the process in the fourth round after two separate trades with the Detroit Lions and the New England Patriots. General manager Mike Mayock sagaciously foresaw the impact Covid-19 would have on the current NFL offseason. Ultimately, it adjusted the team’s draft strategy.
“We didn’t have any sixth or seventh round picks heading into this weekend, and one of our concerns was depending on what happens with the pandemic, we think there’s a pretty good chance we’re not going to see our rookies in person until maybe training camp. If that’s the case, you better make sure your rookies are smart, hard-working and accountable because they’re going to have a shortened period of time to make the team.” – Raiders GM Mike Mayock via a post draft interview with NBC’s Scott Bair
Since then, Mayock’s assessment has been pinpoint. All 32 NFL organizations endured players being banned from their respective facilities for the past four months. However, on Friday, the NFL and NFLPA came to an agreement regarding safety precautions. As a result, NFL training camps will begin on time.
Back to football pic.twitter.com/o8AiZtSt7k
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) July 24, 2020
In conclusion, the Raiders’ 2020 draft strategy is already paying dividends.
How this impacts the Silver and Black
The Las Vegas Raiders exclusively used their recent draft picks to address positions of need. They wasted no time in addressing rosters needs by selecting wide receiver Henry Ruggs III with their first draft selection (12th overall) of the draft.
With minimal time to learn, the organization drafted some of the most intelligent collegiate prospects. For example, third-round selection Tanner Muse is an instinctive football player. Whether it is on defense or special teams, his football I.Q. (as seen below) will assist him on his learning curve as an NFL rookie.
"I'll take THAT" – Tanner Muse, probably. 🙅♂️
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) November 4, 2018
The Silver and Black didn’t just draft intelligent players, they added dynamic playmakers as well. Another third-round selection, Lynn Bowden Jr., seemingly can be placed anywhere on offense or special teams and score.
— Greg Brandt (@devywarehouse) October 27, 2018
Consequently, zero preseason games will impact each aspiring undrafted free agent negatively. As a result, training camp will be their only opportunity to prove themselves worthy to be apart of the inaugural season in Las Vegas. In conclusion, the Raiders maintained their core while adding promising young talent this offseason. It is a strategy that is placing the team in a favorable position this upcoming season.
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