The 2020 NFL Draft was important for the Silver and Black. Mike Mayock, now fully entrenched as the Las Vegas Raiders general manager, looked to build on a strong 2019 class. That year, they were able to draft a premier talent in Josh Jacobs, who made a case for Rookie of the Year. They also found hidden gems like Maxx Crosby and Hunter Renfrow.
Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden assembled their draft board and added new talent in 2020’s Player Selection Meeting. Some players showed flashes their rookie season, others did not shine so bright. Here are the biggest disappointments from the Raiders 2020 draft.
This was a good draft for the Raiders
Lynn Bowden Jr.
Topping the list is arguably the biggest draft bust in Mike Mayock’s tenure is all-purpose offensive weapon Lynn Bowden Jr. Drafted out of Kentucky, the Raiders had big dreams for the hybrid player. There was no shortage of talent. Bowden Jr put up gaudy numbers for the Wildcats in his three-year career with the program:
- Rushing: 206 carries for 1,530 yards and 13 TD’s
- Receiving: 114 receptions for 1,303 yards and 6 TD’s
- Passing: 495 yards and 3 TD’s
Raider fans were dreaming about the possibilities of Bowden and Jacobs in split back sets. Bowden taking snaps at quarterback for trick plays. Motion all over the field, being able to play from the backfield or split out wide. All the makings were there.
Alas, things went downhill fast, beginning with a raid of his grandmother’s home in Youngstown, Ohio. The police didn’t charge Bowden with any crime. Nevertheless, the Raiders still kept an eye on the situation. After all, all would’ve been forgiven if he had excelled in his transition to running back.
He didn’t though and the early returns were not promising. According to Vic Tafur of the Athletic, Bowden was a step slow in drills. Moreover, he was a liability in pass protect situations. It’s never easy changing positions in the NFL.
On top of that, the Raiders were a little uneasy about his level of focus. They feared the rookie may become a distraction for high-profile picks like Henry Ruggs III. The team’s brass ended up sending Bowden and a sixth-round pick to the Dolphins in September for a fourth-round selection. Las Vegas envisioned the Kentucky product in a “joker” kind of role in Jon Gruden’s offense. In the end, the joke was on the Raiders.
It was the season that never was for Tanner Muse, and the Raiders were worse off for it. They drafted the Clemson product 100th overall in the draft and never once saw the field in 2020. The former Tiger came in with core special team abilities and the flexibility to play two positions: safety and linebacker.
However, he never got off the ground. A toe injury sent the 24-year old rookie to the Injured Reserve list for the entirety of the 2020 season. To make matters worse, he was added to the COVID-Reserve list towards the end of the year. The Raiders will look for Muse to make an impact in his second season. Much like Johnathan Abram, he will need to speed up his curve after missing an entire year.
The Raiders were hoping to shore up their defense with this scrappy slot corner out of Louisiana Tech but didn’t get much production out of him last year. Amik Robertson was projected to compete with Lamarcus Joyner, or at the very least learn from the expensive veteran. While you can’t always expect a fourth-round pick to perform right out of the gate there were whispers that Amik was a big-time steal.
He would go on to appear in eight games for the Raiders and total a measly four tackles, no interceptions, and no forced fumbles. A combination of poor play and illness kept Robertson from cracking the lineup in one of the league’s absolute worst defenses. Lamarcus Joyner is no longer a Raider so they will need some big-time production from the second-year player going into 2021.
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Top Photo: John Locher/Associated Press