The Las Vegas Raiders are one of the most intriguing teams coming into the 2020 draft, because they have 5 top 95 picks. Initially, I believed the Raiders would pound the defensive side of the ball in the draft. After analyzing it further, I believe the Raiders stand a better chance of fixing the defense in free agency, especially if the miss on Simmons. Here is a breakdown of how the 2020 draft could go for the Raiders.
(Round 1, Pick 12)- (WR) Henry Ruggs III, Alabama- With Simmons, Juedy and Lamb off the board Ruggs is a great consolation prize. Also, if you believe Al Davis would have passed on Ruggs, you’re not a Raider fan. The kid is going to light up the combine. In reality, I’d be surprised if he lasts until pick 12. This gives Gruden his WR1 and field stretcher.
(Round 1, Pick 19)- (DT) Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina- Kinlaw is one of my favorite players in the draft. Although, this isn’t the Raiders biggest need, it’s a nice roll of the dice heading to Vegas. Kinlaw is so good, I don’t care that he’d take snaps from PJ Hall and Mo Hurst, you take the stud. Again, by time the draft rolls around I don’t see him lasting until pick 19.
(Round 3, Pick 80)- (WR) Colin Johnson, Texas- Johnson is a huge bodied, X Wide Receiver. I believe Gruden will fall in love with the kids catch radius, and knack for getting open. Ideally, Johsnon should put on some weight and paly a tight end role in the NFL, but I never think a huge red zone target at the x is a bad idea, especially in round 3. The Raiders double dip early at WR and come out of the draft highly improved.
(Round 3, Pick 81)- (CB) Jaylon Johnson, Utah- Johnson is an excellent man to man corner. He is long and athletic, with the ability to handle bigger NFL WR. Johnson would give the Raiders a guy to groom into that #2 corner spot behind up and coming Trayvon Mullen
(Round 3, Pick 91)- (RB) Cam Akers, Florida State– Josh Jacobs is a top 10 back in the NFL already, but the Raiders showed they desperately need to get a 2nd guy. Akers is a good pass blocker, which should make Gruden happy. On top of that he played well behind one of the shakiest offensive lines in college football. Akers will benefit greatly from some coaching in the NFL.
(Round 4, Pick 111)- (OLB/DE) Zack Baun, Wisconsin- People will be upset that the Raiders didn’t go front 7 heavy early. However, as with the rest of this class there are a lot of question marks with Baun. But in round 4 the value is there. Some teams will view him as a OLB in a 3-4, but Ideally the Raiders will plug him in on the edge to help the young pass-rushers.
(Round 7, Pick 204)- (QB) Case Cookus, Northern Arizona- He’s been mentioned as one of the best FCS prospects in recent memory. Injuries have derailed this notion. I don’t know if he falls to round 7, but if he does Gruden will be licking his chops. Cookus is a gunslinger, that could fly up draft boards with a good pre-draft process.