During time of year, hyperbole reigns supreme. Yet, for the Las Vegas Raiders, the magnitude of the 2020 NFL Draft cannot be understated. With the Kansas City Chiefs looking down at the rest of the division, the team needs to improve rapidly.Granted, free agency provided some roster upgrades. However, with five picks in the Top 100, the Raiders need to emerge from the draft with multiple starters and quality depth.
Despite rampant speculation online, one man holds the final say during the process. Jon Gruden, he of the richest coaching contract in history will make the final call. Now, that does not minimize the input of GM Mike Mayock. Mayock, film junkie and talent evaluator knows what he’s doing. Notwithstanding the Ferrell pick, which is way too early to pan, Mayock found gems within the 2019 draft. Gruden trusts Mayock. More importantly, he values his opinion and will actively listen. While their dynamic appears atypical, Gruden and Mayock arrive at united conclusions.
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When Reggie McKenzie helmed the draft board, he never let any leaks slip or tipped his thought pattern. Well, except from refraining from drafting linebackers that pan out that aren’t Khalil Mack. Despite this, the current version of the braintrust appear armed with an actual plan. For Mayock, the draft represents everything that he cherishes. Spending hours in front of film, reminds him of years of watching players as a draft analyst. Meanwhile, Jon Gruden knows what he seeks in his players. Together, Mayock makes suggestions and acts as the closes confidant to Gruden.
Whether we like it or not, and most don’t, Derek Carr appears to be the quarterback of the Raiders. As a result, the offense runs through him. If you’re honest, you can see the failings of the offense. While Carr enjoyed a high completion percentage, he does not inspire the offense or will them to victories. The Raiders will add to the offense, hopefully early and often.
Jon Gruden wants route specificity in his number-one receiver. That is to say, the top wideout needs to run crisp routes. Gruden prefers technique over abundant physical gits. Meanwhile, Mayock displays a bit more flexibility and will push for a different type of wideout. Defenders of Derek Carr, claims that he needs help at wide receiver. The Raiders look 24-48 hours away from filling out the roster. Players like Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs could give the Silver and Black a different dynamic. With Josh Jacobs looks to build upon a stellar rookie campaign, the missing piece remains wideout. Tyrell Williams flashes deep threat potential. Hunter Renfrow operates in the slot. Neither display that potential to be high-volume cornerstone players.
When the Las Vegas make their picks, regardless on how they are perceived, will remain theirs to make. How these players pan out will take a couple years to sort.