It was December 31st, 2018. The Raiders hired Mike Mayock as their general manager after moving on from Reggie McKenzie. Two seasons in, and with his third draft coming up, it’s fair to assess the job the former NFL Media analyst has done. Let’s rank the first-round picks the Raiders have made under his watch.
5. DE Clelin Ferrell, Pick 4, 2019
Clelin Ferrell has been a huge disappointment and shouldn’t have been the fourth overall selection in 2019’s draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took linebacker Devin White, who just helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win their second Super Bowl in franchise history, one pick after him.
In two seasons, ‘Cle’ has totaled 65 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and eight passes defensed. That wouldn’t be so bad for one year. However, that’s not the kind of production the Raiders surely expected when they drafted him. They will need a lot more production from him in year three to justify his selection.
4. CB Damon Arnette, Pick 19, 2020
Damon Arnette missed plenty of time in his rookie season. In fact, it seemed like he was injured in almost every game that he did play. From multiple concussions to a broken finger, the football gods weren’t kind to Arnette in 2020. He only played in nine games and 32 percent of the team’s total snaps on offense.
Furthermore, Arnette gave up 78.1 percent of the passes thrown his way. He had no interceptions nor big plays in 2020. He will need to stay healthy and improve his coverage this offseason to live up to his first-round status.
3. WR Henry Ruggs III, Pick 12, 2020
Henry Ruggs III is quite fast and has the potential to become a top-tier wide receiver. However, the Raiders didn’t make much use of his skill set last season. Looking back, having an off rookie year might not have been entirely his fault. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden needs to draw up more slant plays for him and Derek Carr needs to target him more often. In 2020, Ruggs saw a paltry 43 targets, which is insanely low for a featured wideout.
Ruggs finished the 2020 season with 26 catches for 452 yards, and two touchdowns while averaging 17.4 yards per reception. The Alabama product and Carr need to work on their chemistry this offseason and Gruden really needs to draw up a lot more plays for Ruggs because he has so much potential and just needs more chances.
On the other hand, Ruggs needs to work on his strength, if he hit the gym and got stronger and the Raiders could use him the right way and targeted him more. He could be a dangerous threat in the NFL for many years going forward.
2. S Johnathan Abram, Pick 27, 2019
Safety Johnathan Abram is a FREAK. The aggressiveness and energy he brings are highly contagious. He can get you hyped up just watching him. Moreover, he’s one of the hardest hitters in the NFL and brings all the energy and trash talk every single game.
He was hurt in the first game of his rookie year, which forced him to miss the 2019 season. Nevertheless, he was healthier in 2020 and started 13 games for the Silver and Black. He finished the season with 86 total tackles, two interceptions, five passes defensed, and five tackles for loss. He needs to work on his coverage skills but the talent is there.
1. RB Josh Jacobs, Pick 24, 2019
Josh Jacobs has been a top-ten running back throughout his two-year NFL career. In his first campaign, he played half the season with a torn shoulder. Despite missing the final three games, he racked up 1,150 rushing yards, seven touchdowns, and averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
He was a runner up for Offensive Rookie of the Year but lost to Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. His second year in 2020, he again played most of the season injured with an ankle injury. Again, despite the ankle injury, he finished 1,065 yards rushing, and 12 touchdowns. In two seasons, he has totaled 2,215 rushing yards, (a franchise record), 19 touchdowns, (4.3 average), and has hauled in 53 catches for 404 receiving yards. Based on his production and impact on the field, he’s been the Raiders best draft pick of the Mike Mayock era.
Now, we have to wait and see what happens in the 2021 draft in April, as this will be the first year in Mayock’s tenure that the Raiders hold just one first-round draft pick in the selection meeting. If things go well, the pick may make it to the top of next year’s ranking.
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Top Photo: Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group