The Raiders may have felt pressure to keep up with the now Super Bowl-winning Chiefs.
Las Vegas’ first priority is to find Derek Carr a WR1. However, with pressing needs on the defensive and offensive line and at linebacker and cornerback, the Raiders needed to get creative while adding talent to their roster in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Las Vegas's 2020 draft picks:
- No. 12: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
- No. 19: Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
- No. 80: Lynn Bowden, WR, Kentucky
- No. 81: Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
- No. 100: Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
- No. 109: John Simpson, IOL, Clemson
- No. 139: Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
Best Pick: Henry Ruggs III
Coach Jon Gruden worked with Kansas City’s Andy Reid on Mike Holmgren's staff. They essentially run the same offense with similar verbiage and concepts. The Raiders have always drafted the most explosive and sudden players; that’s what they did here with Ruggs.
Biggest Surprise: Damon Arnette
General manager Mike Mayock knows teams get in trouble by reaching for a player based on team needs. Either he and Gruden are not on the same page, which has been rumored, or he made an exception because that’s precisely what the Raiders did with their second first-round selection. Arnette wasn’t considered a top-five cornerback. However, since Las Vegas didn’t have a second-round pick, Arnette was pushed him up the Raiders’ board; they chose the corner they wanted late in the first round.
Day 3 sleeper: John Simpson
Las Vegas drafted yet another Clemson player. The Raiders now have acquired five Tigers in the last two drafts.
Gabe Jackson has been on the trading block recently and could be a candidate for release. Las Vegas drafted his successor with a similar skill set in Simpson. He is a mauler with very good inline power who fits the Raiders’ mode of physicality and toughness on the interior line.
X-Factor: Becoming better at QB
It goes without saying, Derek Carr needs to play better. Rumors swirled the entire offseason that the Raiders were looking to upgrade the position. There were also reports of Las Vegas pursuing free-agent passers, particularly Tom Brady. Instead, the Raiders got Carr some more weapons on the outside and added some youth up front.
With the Gruden-led Raiders yet to post at least a .500 season, people could grow impatient with another losing season, especially with his salary. There’s also the economic component; the Raiders want to put people in the seats as they go into their new city and stadium. Ruggs is lighting in a bottle and will do just that. Edwards can develop into a starter on the outside as well. Three new wide receivers and youthful protection will significantly impact Las Vegas’ ability to score points and challenge Kansas City in the AFC West.