Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders Are Still Bad At Drafting

After a gut-wrenching 26-25 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Las Vegas Raiders have been eliminated from playoff contention once again. For the second year in a row, the Jon Gruden led squad has experienced a late-season collapse. While coaching and execution bear a fair portion of the blame, the Silver and Black have a much larger problem on their hands.

The Raiders have used a questionable approach to acquire talent

When Jon Gruden returned to the Raiders in 2018 as head coach, his first order of business was to trade Khalil Mack.

In that trade, the Raiders sent Mack to the Chicago Bears in exchange for coveted draft capital. Not long thereafter, the Silver and Black shipped out Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys. The new regime quickly placed an emphasis on draft picks over proven NFL talent, and in 2019, they brought in Mike ‘Draft Guru’ Mayock to be their general manager.

Unfortunately, the Raiders are still reeling from the consequences of both trades. They may have acquired an abundance of resources, but they have not capitalized on it by any means. These are some of the players they have drafted in the last two years.

Clelin Ferrell

Buffalo Bills v Las Vegas Raiders
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

 

The fourth overall pick in the 2019 draft is simply not a game-changer. The Raiders utilized a Top 5 selection on an edge defender who is quality while stopping the run but fails to consistently pressure the quarterback. Meanwhile, the draft selection after him seems to know a thing or two about wreaking havoc in the backfield from the linebacker position.

Aside from a showing against the New York Jets earlier this season, the former Top 5 pick hasn’t warranted his selection and more than likely never will.

Josh Jacobs

Raiders
Josh Jacobs #28 (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Josh Jacobs is a standout who’s heading to his first career Pro Bowl in just his second season. However, he is only averaging 3.8 yards per rush. This puts him in the bottom ten of all NFL rushers in 2020. When a Jacksonville Jaguars undrafted free agent, James Robinson, leads in numerous categories at the position, it is perhaps time to reflect on the 2019 24th overall pick’s true production at a position where players can go undrafted and have sustained success.

The Alabama standout is a talented player, but he is not an elite back considering that his longest rush of the year is only 24 yards. With glaring needs on the defensive side of the ball and his consistent injury issues (that he plays through but still), this draft pick is undoubtedly in question.

Johnathan Abram

Raiders
Johnathan Abram #24 (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The 28th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft has done more talking than he has shown quality football. The former Hard Knocks sensation has proven to be a liability in coverage. So much so, that he is the NFL’s worst coverage safety.

In addition, opposing teams constantly turn Abram’s aggressive/undisciplined play style against him when it matters most.

Abram is nothing more than a liability that has cost the Raiders a first-round pick.

Related: Raiders Run Game Has Bright Spots Despite Loss to Dolphins

What about the Raiders’ draft picks in 2020?

Henry Ruggs III

Henry Ruggs
Henry Ruggs III (Getty Images photo pool)

The Raiders’ 12th overall pick in 2020 has shown that he is capable of making plays. However, the Silver and Black refuse to give him opportunities to shine. Instead, the coaching staff would rather see Jason Witten receive more targets.

Ruggs has flashed at times this season, but not enough. The first wide receiver selected in the 2020 NFL draft has struggled, but at the same time Derek Carr and Jon Gruden have left him out in the cold more times than not.

The Silver and Black bought a Lamborghini and are trying to test-drive it in downtown Los Angeles’ rush hour. His talent is evident, but as of now, he’s nothing more than a decoy.

Damon Arnette

AP Photo/John Bazemore

The Raiders 19th overall pick in 2020 can’t stay on the field. Damon Arnette has only played in eight contests this year to date, and he hasn’t even made it through all of those. Whether it is the thumb injury from college or getting concussed due to horrible tackling form, Arnette simply hasn’t justified the use of a first-round pick. In fact, he displayed the opposite this past Saturday night against the Miami Dolphins.

His football IQ is questionable, and his maturity can also be evaluated to an extent. He and numerous other Raider players feel the need to attack and disrespect fans who are beyond tired of losing.

Nobody can justify anyone that attacks a child or wife, however, countless NFL players go through the same experience and manage to have a quality relationship with their fans.

The Raiders have to change how they do things

The Raiders’ struggles to draft impact players is evident. Those discussed above were only the first-round selections, the mid-round choices haven’t been much better. Mayock was brought in as the general manager to assist Jon Gruden though it seems as if he doesn’t have a voice.

The Silver and Black have a multitude of issues, and they can all be traced back to a man making $100 million over ten seasons. In his three years, he has not led the organization to a winning record, and change will be necessary or the Raiders will continue to be a treadmill team.

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Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Gary H.

Liked your article and observations. I too am an east coast Raider fan (1968). Though I lean more toward inept coaching/teaching. The Raiders seem to be relying on these players from blue blood schools to automatically come in and make everything better. I’ve commented in other posts, allow me to be brief: 1. Gruden as absentee HC = lack of responsibility, accountability and sense of urgency. 2. Bad defense = need for offense to score 40pts./ game 3. Complicated offensive and defensive schemes + inept coaching/teaching = lack of player communication, development of chemistry, bad free agency and poor draft… Read more »

David Magee

you are a dumb ass

Anonymous

reply to Damien arnett this is Bill Cook I have not lived in my mom’s basement ever I am 68 years old I’ve been watching the raiders dinner raiders fan for the ’60s don’t go telling me that you are good you ain’t good buddy you let that boy run upside down you cannot lose these games like this at the end that game last week against Miami was ridiculously lost by a face mask and whoever let this crazy ass pass it fits through be caught you stood back and watched so don’t go telling me that I live… Read more »

David W Dohanish

Very good article, hit the nail on the head!
I never agreed with any of their picks.

RAIDERMAN818

Y’all commenting under pictures with my son and stuff, Y’all lame ass get off my shit. I can tel it be the Raiders fans who still live w they momma tho. Ion need y’all support who are y’all? We good🖤 — Damon Arnette (@damon_arnette) December 27, 2020 Arnette is an illiterate clown that should stay off of social media. He’s not very good at staying on the field, and when he is there, his play hasn’t warranted any of the ebonics shit talking tweets like the one above. No, we’re NOT good, Damon. Hope this moron turns things around in… Read more »

Anonymous

Agree some but I think the biggest issue was Game planning and play calling. This falls on the coaching. Time for Gruden to go?