The Las Vegas Raiders still have pressing needs ahead of this month’s player selection meeting. However, it shouldn’t surprise folks if the team’s brass opts for a wide receiver in the first round.
The Raiders were busy renovating the defensive line this offseason, in particular, they added Yannick Ngakoue. Besides rebuilding the offensive line, they also retooled the running game by signing former Alabama running back, Kenyan Drake. Suddenly, Las Vegas finds itself with several former Crimson Tide players within their offensive ranks. Besides Drake, the team features running back Josh Jacobs and speedy wide receiver, Henry Ruggs III. Would Raiders head coach Jon Gruden actually contemplate a scenario where he takes Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle with the 17th selection?
Is wide receiver still a pressing need for Raiders?
Las Vegas lost Nelson Agholor in free agency but picked up John Brown, they also brought back Zay Jones. It would appear that the team believes in Ruggs, Hunter Renfrow, and Bryan Edwards being their top receivers. Nevertheless, Waddle would be an intriguing option if he’s available. Pro Football Focus has him as one of the highest-graded wide receivers with an overall 84.7 grade. While he doesn’t fit the mold of a ‘tall’ receiver at five-foot-ten, Waddle possesses game-changing speed. Averaging 18.8, 17.0, and 21.1 yards per reception each of his college seasons is just one piece of evidence to support that claim.
In the end, none of us have any idea as to what Gruden will do on draft day. Raiders beat writer Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal was recently asked to comment on the matter. Addressing his reader mailbag, Bonsignore responded to whether Gruden would actually consider Waddle or DeVonta Smith.
“That would be tough to pass up, but there are bigger needs. It is Jon Gruden though … so who knows?”
The Silver and Black has proven time and time again that when it comes to drafting, they’ll usually leave you second-guessing. Picks such as Clelin Ferrell, Damon Arnette, and even Ruggs were head-scratchers to many folks. This year’s first-round selection will be very intriguing, even more so depending on which players drop, Waddle being one of them.
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*Top Photo: Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics