The 2020 NFL Draft is just under a month away, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Las Vegas Raiders will be the 12th team evaluated.
The past few seasons, the Raiders’ mission was to break it down and build from the bottom up. The Raiders traded away former first-round picks Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. They received multiple picks in return. Last year the Raiders had three first-round selections. Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abraham were selected. But the biggest story for the Raiders coming into the year was the acquisition of Antonio Brown. The Raiders traded away a third-round pick for arguably the best wide receiver in football. During training camp, it seemed like there was a different story coming out about something Brown was doing, said, or tweeted every week. It led to his release and the Raiders had to rescript their offense. Despite having to deal with all of that and having an extremely young team they ended the year 7-9.
With Brown out of the lineup. The Raiders passing attack ran threw Tyrell Williams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow. Waller broke out and had a 1,000+ yard season and Renfrow solidified himself as the Raiders’ starting slot receiver, but Derek Carr needs more than that. The Raiders did add Nelson Agholor and Jason Witten, but they still lack a number one receiver. They do have a star running back. Josh Jacobs ran for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns this past year. He showed his star potential that he show at burst at Alabama and why he was the first running back drafted last year. The storyline to follow on offense this offense is what the Raiders are doing at the quarterback position. There have been rumblings about the Raiders looking to move on from Derek Carr. They have already signed former second overall pick Marcus Mariota to a two-year deal to back up Carr. Would Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden kick the tires on another quarterback to develop behind those two?
The Raiders needed to make huge changes on defense last offseason. After trading away Khalil Mack the Raiders’ defense fell to the bottom of the league. They did sign LaMarcus Joyner and drafted defensive starters Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Abrams, Trayvon Mullen and Maxx Crosby. The fourth-round pick Crosby shocked the league by having ten sacks in his first season. But those additions weren’t enough for the Raiders defense to make huge strides so the Raiders added more this offseason. This offseason they signed arguably the two best free-agent linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton. They also signed defensive tackle Maliek Collins and former first-round pick cornerback Eli Apple. The Raiders seem to be locking up all of the holes on their defense.
2020 NFL Draft Picks
First Round (one pick): No. 12, 19
Second Round (zero picks):
Third Round (three picks): No. 80, 81, 91
Fourth Round (one pick): No. 121
Fifth Round (one pick): No. 159
Sixth Round (zero picks):
Seventh Round (one picks): 226
Wide receiver- It’s been two seasons now that the Raiders have been in need of receiver help. Not the fault of the Raiders, they took a risk but tried to address it by adding Antonio Brown. Even after adding Nelson Agholor, the Raiders should look to add wide receiver early and often in the draft.
Cornerback- Trayvon Mullen played well in his first season, but if the Raiders can find an upgrade over Eli Apple to play opposite Mullen that would be huge for their defense.
Linebacker- The Raiders have made huge strides in addressing their need for starting level quality linebackers by adding Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton, but they need another starter to fill the need in their 4-3 defense.
Interior Offensive Line- The Raiders do have one of the best offensive lines in the league but they are getting older, especially in the interior. Rodney Hudson and Richie Incognito are 30+. They have also floated Gabe Jackson’s name around in trade rumors. They might want to add some depth at the position
Quarterback- The Raiders seem to be set at the position but with Jon Gruden running the show the Raiders will always be interested in what quarterbacks they can add to their roster.
2020 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 12: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
Jon Gruden wants his offense to be fast. Tyrell Williams and Nelson Agholor are fast, but not Henry Ruggs fast. There are not many as fast as Henry Ruggs. For those who are scared by fast receivers with flashbacks of John Ross, watch Rugg’s tape he is not only fast but has a large route tree and his a very good route runner. He can be the spark that the Raiders need of offense to remove itself from the middle of the pack.
Pick No. 19: Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Here’s a curveball, The Raiders spend their second first-round pick on a quarterback. As much as fans might not approve of this selection they must think long term. Patrick Mahomes will be dominating the AFC West for the foreseeable future. After that is the Los Angeles Chargers who have built an elite roster that is a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender. Then the Raiders and Broncos are battling it out for the third-best team in the division and after the Broncos’ offseason additions, they might be the winner. The Raiders could possibly build for the future and a prospect like Jordan Love can develop and learn from Jon Gruden, Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr (if they don’t trade him). By the time Love would be game ready the Chiefs will have to retool their team after paying Patrick Mahomes, the Chargers could be a completely different team since most of their team is on short term contracts, and then the Broncos and Raiders will be hitting their strides as their young teams reach their prime.
Pick No. 80: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC
Most years Michael Pittman Jr. would be a late first-round pick. This year, because of the depth, he can fall from anywhere between the second and third rounds. If Pittman is here in the third round the Raider should select him regardless of selecting a wide receiver in the first round. The Raiders can jump from one of the bleak receiver groups to one of the deepest if they select two receivers early. Also after what happened last year, the Raiders should make sure they have enough depth at the wide receiver position.
Pick No. 81: Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA
Darnay Holmes has shown great cover skills, but he lacks size. Holmes might not be able to start day one, but could compete for a starting job next year if they choose not to re-sign Eli Apple next season.
Pick No. 91: Evan Weaver, LB, California
This year’s crop of linebackers is not flashy it is a very top-heavy group. Weaver could compete for a starting job for the Raiders next season, but might serve as a reserve until possibly next season to compete to be the third starting linebacker in this defense.