Raiders 1st-Round Mock Draft: Will Jon Gruden Land Elite WR?

Getty Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

As the season rolls on, the Oakland Raiders‘ needs become more obvious. What started off as a promising 2019 campaign has gone off the rails after two straight blow out loses. While Jon Gruden’s squad could still sneak into the playoffs, it’s clear that it’s going to take some time for this young team to develop into a real Super Bowl contender.

Fortunately for Oakland, they are going to have two first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, so they’ll be able to address some needs. The offense is pretty solid at most positions, but the team clearly needs a lot of help at wide receiver. That should be the first position the Raiders target. It’s also way past time that they addressed their linebacker issue with a top pick. Tahir Whitehead and Nicholas Morrow clearly aren’t the answer. Mike Mayock proved that he knows how to draft in 2019. With another year under his belt, expect the general manager to prove his first rookie class wasn’t a fluke.

No. 16: Henry Ruggs, CeeDee Lamb or Another Wideout?

Ever since CeeDee Lamb was seen repping a Fred Biletnikoff jersey, Raider fans everywhere have been foaming at the mouth about his potential as a member of the team. If Pro Football Focus is correct, the Oklahoma superstar will be heading to Las Vegas to wear the silver and black fulltime. Here’s what they had to say:

This would be one of the steals of the draft if Lamb were to make it all the way to No. 16. The Oklahoma wideout has bridged the gap between himself and Jerry Jeudy considerably this season, as Lamb leads all draft-eligible players in yards per route run on the year. He’d be the true number one that Oakland thought they had in Antonio Brown.

Not a soul would complain if Mayock were to select Lamb at 16. However, it’s hard to imagine he’s going to fall that far. As PFF pointed out, he’s getting close to being the number one wide receiver prospect. It’s very possible that Lamb is off the board in the top-10. If that’s the case, the Raiders should turn their sites to Tee Higgins or Henry Ruggs. Mayock clearly loves his Alabama and Clemson prospects, so he’d probably be happy to land either. Matt Miller at Bleacher Report predicts the team to select Ruggs:

Ruggs is a dynamic weapon down the field, drawing comparisons to Tyreek Hill (minus the off-field concerns) coming out of college. Ruggs can beat defenses deep down the field, he can beat defenses on short passes with running room ahead of him, and he can crush spirits as a return man.

Jon Gruden is the right kind of offensive coach to use Ruggs’ unique talents. This is a match made in heaven.

Ruggs is as fast as they come and there’s no doubt Jon Gruden will be able to get more creative with his offense with that type of player. If the Raiders keep Tyrell Williams, Ruggs is a very good compliment as they both have different games. Higgins is very similar to Williams, so it seems like Ruggs would be the better fit.

Verdict: Raiders select Henry Ruggs

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No. 18: Linebacker Should Be the Target

With the team’s second pick in the first round, they need to go defense. Mayock could go crazy and just try to pick up Ruggs and Higgins, but that’s unlikely. The team has avoided adding top talent at linebacker for years and that needs to change. They have promising players on the defensive line and secondary, but none of the linebackers inspire much confidence. Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson is the top of the class. It’s unlikely he’ll fall to the Raiders.

Matt Miller seems to think that Kenneth Murray at Oklahoma is the call with the team’s second first-round pick:

Murray has been a tackling machine at Oklahoma, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s a thumper at the position. He has real range and coverage chops while showing elite speed to make plays all over the field.

Given the Raiders’ struggles to defend the middle of the field, Murray is a dream selection.

Murray seems like a really good pick and nobody would complain if he was wearing silver and black. However, there’s an interesting possibility. Dylan Moses from Alabama would’ve been the number one linebacker had he not gotten hurt. His draft stock has fallen quite a bit, but could still get picked up late in the first round. The Raiders don’t have a second-round pick this year. If Tua Tagovailoa is still on the board at 18, there could be a team in need of a quarterback that wants to jump up in the first round. Oakland could trade back, snag a second-round pick in the process and pick up Moses later in the round. The New Orleans Saints won’t have Drew Brees forever. They could send a second-rounder to Oakland so that they can lock Tua up.

Verdict: Raiders trade back and select Dylan Moses

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