2020 Draft: Raiders’ First-Round Options (Post-Combine)

With the Combine wrapped up, for a large majority of prospects, we’ve seen all that we need to see. The testing numbers have gone official, and while we can wait for each players respective pro days (if they opted to roll the events over to there), we have a good idea where most players currently stand.

With free agency still to take place, which could alter some decisions with the Raiders two first-round picks, I think a few scenarios could present themselves regardless. I lay it all out below.

Read-up on the Raiders’ team needs here.

Also read about my “dream scenario” for this offseason here.

Trade-up for a quarterback.

Look away, Derek Carr faithful.

Now, to be clear, as much as I’d thoroughly enjoy the panic and chaos that a move for Tom Brady would cause, I don’t think that’s a very smart decision. Heck, I don’t think any free agent option is necessarily “better” than what the Raiders currently have in Carr.

The draft, on the other hand, could get interesting if the Las Vegas Jon Gruden’s fall in love with a certain signal-caller throughout the process. Speaking of love, I’m passing on any sort of trade-up for guys like Jordan Love (Utah State). Love on mid-late Day 2? I’m more intrigued. Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) could be an option in the third-round, or so, but likely not (read: hopefully not) a trade-up target at either 12 or 19 overall.

Joe Burrow (Louisiana State) is a lock to go at the 1.01 to Cincinnati, a pick the Bengals refuse to move off of. Justin Herbert (Oregon) has the big arm that the front office could fall in love with. Which brings us to Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama).

So much hinges on the medicals (hip) for Tagovailoa, but assuming there’s a green light, talent-wise, he has to be in the discussion. What I’m not sold on is Gruden pushing his chips in on a younger option, especially with the move to Las Vegas only a handful of months away. I don’t think Gruden has the patience, nor does it make great business sense. End of the day, I also don’t believe anyone besides Gruden knows what he wants or will do under center — so almost anyone and anything is in play. Buckle-up, my pals.

Tua. T 🇦🇸 on Twitter

Stay tuned.. 🎥 https://t.co/xxe4aqtY5M

Trade-up for a blue-chip defender.

If the Raiders opt to bundle picks, making a splash and snagging one of the best defensive players in the class makes a ton of sense; more sense than sliding up for a quarterback. There are three options that immediately come to mind:

EDGE Chase Young (Ohio State): Arguably the best player in the class, regardless of position, the Raiders still need help getting to the quarterback. Young does that better than anyone, and might be the best at doing it out of school since that really good player came through Oakland, the same player that eventually got paid by the Chicago Bears.

“LB” Isaiah Simmons (Clemson): You have to put “LB” in parenthesis because, as Simmons himself will tell you, he’s a “defender”. Simmons’ freak athleticism and versatility would provide arguably the biggest boost that any one player could give the Raiders in this year’s class.

CB Jeff Okudah (Ohio State): Elite, lockdown corner potential. No, he’s not Jalen Ramsey-level coming out of school, nor is he Marshon Lattimore-level, but he’s still a high-end prospect and one you’d be ecstatic to move up the board for. Obvious Combine winner.

Trading down.

The opposite of trading up, if you will. The Raiders don’t (currently) have a second-round pick, so this could make some amount of sense in that regard. They also need as many chances at talent acquisition as they can in order to fill out this roster, so adding more darts to throw inside the top-100 isn’t a bad thing.

Staying put at 12 overall.

Truthfully, I don’t spend a ton of time thinking about trade-up or trade-down scenarios, simply because there are so many different variables and, oftentimes, different dominoes that would need to fall. They’re super-hard to predict and a waste of time to debate about, basically. Here are some thoughts and players to consider at pick 12:

We can assume that Tom Cable won’t bang the table for a first-round offensive lineman — right?

Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina), one-time fan and media favorite along the defensive line, looks like a pass in the early-round for the Raiders, per Vic Tafur, who states that Kinlaw might be just “too raw” for the team’s liking.

Most likely, the Raiders are choosing between one of three wide receivers (whomever their favorite is or whatever one of the three may be left): Jerry Jeudy (Alabama), CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma), and Henry Ruggs III (Alabama).

Jeudy provides arguably the safest floor, while the advanced footwork and adequate test results adds to the ceiling. However, he may be limited to a slot-only role, which is okay, but Gruden may be reaching for more with the 12th pick.

Lamb looks like a prototypical monster on the outside, and really doesn’t have any notable holes to his game. No-brainer.

If I had to give you an answer right now for the Raiders’ eventual pick at 12 overall, assuming he’s on the board, it’s Ruggs. I don’t think Gruden and Mike Mayock can ignore the speed, and how that could (theoretically) open things up on offense.

PFF Draft on Twitter

Henry Ruggs only has 98 career catches. 24 of those have resulted in TDs. https://t.co/LDwrTS0VB5

Staying put at 19 overall.

While I lean wide receiver at 12 overall, it would not shock to see a defender pulled there. Whether cornerback or linebacker or another pass-rusher, again, I think the Raiders have the “luxury” of being so bad across so many different position groups that they could truly go best player available and nobody would really complain.

All that said, I think a defender is the target here at 19 overall.

For the corners, some names that may still be on the board and floating around in this range: C.J. Henderson (Florida), Kristian Fulton (Louisiana State), A.J. Terrell (Clemson), and Jeff Gladney (Texas Christian). Mayock has a thing for Clemson players, we’re told, so snagging Terrell fits the narrative beautifully.

On the linebacker front, two common names: Patrick Queen (Louisiana State) and Kenneth Murray (Oklahoma). I still lean Queen here, and contend that would be a smash-pick at 19.

What if the Raiders pass on wide receiver at 12, and target one at 19? Few names to consider: Jalen Reagor (Texas Christian), Denzel Mims (Baylor), Justin Jefferson (Louisiana State), and Laviska Shenault (Colorado). Shenault lost coin at the Combine, working out injured (shared his surgery news post-Combine). If the recovery goes smoothly, Gruden may not be able to ignore the dynamic, play-making ability (despite the stinky Combine outing).

Outside of those names, we could see more of a “wildcard selection”. Names like K’Lavon Chaisson (Louisiana State) at edge defender or Xavier McKinney (Alabama) and Kyle Dugger (Lenoir-Rhyne) at safety, just to name a few.

NFL on Twitter

Kyle Dugger (@LRBearsFootball) runs a 4.50u 40-yard dash. 📺: #NFLCombine on @NFLNetwork 📱: https://t.co/vDFxxNddNZ https://t.co/PWWO7LuBqt

Okay, now it’s your turn to share all your thoughts and scenarios with me and, most importantly, tell me how how wrong I am about everything I wrote and suggested.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive


1 thought on “2020 Draft: Raiders’ First-Round Options (Post-Combine)

  1. I am hoping that it goes this way:

    1. Sign Cory Littleton as an FA. He runs the defense this year.
    2. Sign a top CB at Free agent, any one of them to play in tandem with Mulle.
    3, Take a Top 3 WR. Who exactly depends on who is available at 12. If all 3 are available, Lamb, or Ruggs. While I prefer Jeudy, Renfrow is the slot reciever, and the biggest need is an outside guy. Wiiliams can play on the other side or middle.
    4, Take an LB at 19, either Qeen or Murray. Murray plays ILB. Queen play OLB. If we get Queen, Littlton plays ILB; if we get Murray, Littleton plays OLB.
    5. In round 3, pick a Safety to play with Abrahms. With a seconf pick, somebody to pla on the DL, or another WR, maybe one with more size,
    6. I would like to see Mayowa, Dion James, Karl Joseph, and Will Compton resigned, They are all competent backups, and shouldn’t be expensive, aside from maybe Joseph,

    With the improved LB group, it should help the DL and secondary. It may even result in an improved pass rush, with more sacks, and less susceptability to jet sweeps, RPOs, and short passes to TEs and RBs.

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