2020 Offseason: Top-5 Positional Needs Entering the Draft

The Las Vegas Raiders (typing and reading that will be weird for a long time, I’m sure) are sitting pretty (as bad teams often do) entering the 2020 NFL Draft. The duo of Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock hold five selections inside the top-100. There are very few teams, if any, as starved for talent across the roster as a whole as the artists formerly known as the Oakland Raiders. Below, you can view the team’s entire slate of picks as things currently sit.

Courtesy of Tankathon

My goal with this piece was to quickly and cleanly lay out this team’s top five needs entering the offseason and the draft. Each year, the needs are obvious enough, but the actual priority is less clear (and overall, probably less important; it would just be nice to get good players in general I guess). This year, I’m having a legitimately tough time figuring out how to order and rank these positions of need. Bear with me, you guys…

I’m going to hedge a little bit here, given all my hemming and hawing, and suggest that the Raiders’ top three needs are all glaring and all equally-weighted. I can’t call it. I wake up one morning and hate the wide receiver situation the most. That’s definitely the top need, no question. During lunch that same afternoon, I’m sobbing at my local deli thinking about the cornerbacks. Surely the top need. As I get ready for bed, I get angry thinking about the linebackers, and that’s what they need to focus on at 12 and probably 19 as well. It’s a vicious, sad cycle.

Anyway, here’s what I came up with. Being so devoid of talent has it’s benefits, I suppose, if we’re looking for the silver lining. With so many picks inside the money rounds, it’s hard to envision a draft going so far off course for Mayock in his second year. Just draft the best player on the board, it’ll likely be a needed and welcomed upgrade at whatever that position is.

Wide Receiver: The Raiders cannot enter 2020 with Tyrell Williams and Zay Jones as their “top options”. And as much as I love and will cape for Hunter Renfrow, I have a hard time seeing a scenario where Gruden is not running up to the podium personally and handing in the card with a receiver’s name written on it at either (or both?) the 12th or 19th pick.

Linebacker: Mark Davis’ team has been comically bad at the linebacker spot for, well, probably since his Pops was still roaming the sideline. An athletic, early-round investment would be nice for once.

Cornerback: The Raiders front office appears to be much higher on the current crop of corners currently on the roster than I. While I do not think they look here early as a result, given the team’s sporadic nature at the position (and tendency to give up the big play), I think it’s at least worth a conversation.

Defensive Line: Save for rookie Maxx Crosby showing out, the pass rush once again underwhelmed. Keep banging the table for talent until the team is out from the bottom five or ten in sack totals year after year.

Running Back: Surprisingly enough, Gruden didn’t get rookie stud Josh Jacobs nearly as involved through the air as I initially expected. He also commented plenty about the team’s desire to add a bigger option behind Jacobs throughout the season. I think that search continues, and could end with a solution in the draft.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive


5 thoughts on “2020 Offseason: Top-5 Positional Needs Entering the Draft

  1. its awful early buy i stll like that lamb kid wr the a pass rusher with speed an also play linebacker a good corner and you can talk all you want about the smith bros from green bay but with money in free agency i would go after blake martinez he makes that defence hes the kind of player the raiders need

  2. As far as the wide receiver position goes all I can say is this. For the 2nd year in a row Derek Carr surpassed 4000 yards passing, so the Raider passing game is still in relatively good shape. I would probably just bring in another free agent receiver such as AJ Green to act as a mentor for the young receivers. Zay Jones is a possession receiver and well suited for Gruden’s West Coast offense. Carr just has to target him more often.

  3. If the Raiders intend to compete with the Chiefs they gotta have defense. Giving up big deep plays all season won’t stop until we grab a linebacker and improve the pass rush.

  4. The Raiders aren’t as lacking in talent as you suggest, with a lot of quality young players already on the roster with their best football ahead. This year’s free agency (with a lot of salary cap), combined with 5 top 100 picks is really all they need to be a legitimate playoff contender. They could potentially sign 2 top linebackers from the Panthers and the Rams and that position group goes from a weakness to a strength. Add a top Corner as well and then fill in with the draft. WR at #12, Defensive lineman or Corner at #19, fill in additional talent in the third round (or trade up for a second round pick). Third round could fill the RB position they need to compliment Jacobs, another WR, a LB or whomever. They also need to resign Joseph, Richard and Worley. Mullen will prove to be #1 Corner, they get Abram back and move Joyner back to his natural safety position, and their secondary is no longer a weakness. Don’t underestimate this team in 2020. Carr will be fine with a good receiver’s group and an improved defense.

  5. Bingo! You nailed it. I think if Simmons is there at 12 he’s the pick. Plenty of receivers in this draft.

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