Not everybody was a fan of the Oakland Raiders‘ rookie class when it was first revealed, but there are a lot of people eating crow now. Not only does the team have the Offensive Rookie of the Year front-runner, but they also found solid contributors all over the draft. In 2018, the Raiders were very old and reliant on veterans. That has completely changed in 2019 and the rookies are playing a large role in the team’s success.
People are starting to notice how excellent Oakland’s draft class was and Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football got bold when talking about it.
“It might be the greatest draft class we’ve seen in the last 10 years,” said Schrager.
He then went on to show a breakdown of the Raiders’ rookie stats. The team currently leads all rookie classes in rushing yards, receptions, scrimmage yards, total touchdowns and sacks. Not a bad job from first-year general manager Mike Mayock.
“I do know this: 12 weeks through the NFL season, there is no rookie class better than the Oakland Raiders one right now and I know we love our Saints from a couple of years ago and the Brown from last year,” said Schrager. “I would argue that this rookie class might be the best we’ve seen in recent memory.”
The Raiders had a franchise-changing draft back in 2014, but that success didn’t last long. Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson are the only two remaining players from that class. Oakland will hope that this 2019 draft class will have a longer run of success.
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Jon Gruden Has High Praise for Alec Ingold
One player who doesn’t get mentioned often when talking about the Raiders rookie class is fullback Alec Ingold. That’s mainly because he went undrafted and fullback isn’t the most glamorous position in the NFL. While many teams don’t even utilize the positions anymore, Jon Gruden loves himself a good fullback. He had some massive praise for the Raiders rookie after Sunday’s game versus the Bengals.
“If there’s a better fullback in the league right now I sure would like to see him. He can run it, he can catch it and he can certainly escort. He can line up in a couple different positions. He has versatility and helps us in short yardage.”
Much is made about Josh Jacobs’ big season as it should be. However, he’d be the first to acknowledge that much of his success is thanks to Ingold. He’s consistently been a very good blocker and has even made some plays through the air and a rusher. He’s not the most important player on the team’s roster, but he does make an impact. It’s a testament to Mike Mayock’s and Gruden’s ability to scout talent that they were able to find an impact rookie in free agency. Not every rookie was a hit. Seventh-round pick Quinton Bell didn’t make the team and was eventually cut from the practice squad. That said, Ingold more than makes up for that disappointment.