After Jon Gruden’s first year back with the Raiders, it looked like the team was about to face a few years of mediocrity. The team had been hampered by subpar draft classes for years and there wasn’t a lot to get excited about. However, the team hired Mike Mayock as the general manager and he proceeded to revamp the franchise with an excellent draft haul.
The Raiders found solid contributors all over the draft and some of the team’s best players were rookies. NFL analyst Peter Schrager has been a big advocate for the Raiders’ 2019 draft class and had some seriously strong praise.
“I think Mayock and Gruden cleaned up last year … remember, this team was 6-4 and tied with the Chiefs in the AFC West going into Week 12 last year,” Schrager said on The Herd. “They fell apart because they were all rookies and they were young. I think the Raiders are gonna be really good when we get back to football and I think that class from last year was built with guys that are gonna be franchise builders.”
Schrager also predicted that the Raiders would also “nail” the 2020 draft. The team could be one strong draft class away from getting back into the playoffs.
Colin Cowherd Believes Raiders Won Khalil Mack Trade
While it was criticized heavily at the time, the Raiders wouldn’t have been able to put together such a strong draft class if they didn’t trade superstar defender Khalil Mack before the 2018 season. The team had a better season without Mack in 2019 than they did in 2017 with him. It’s always a disappointment to lose your best player, but sometimes the investment is just too steep. It also doesn’t help that Mack had his worst season since his rookie year in 2019. FOX Sports analyst Colin Cowherd had some interesting comments about the trade.
“We crushed the Raiders for Khalil Mack and in the end, it’s how they are rebuilding their franchise … the Raiders have come out the winner so far of the Khalil Mack trade,” said Cowherd.
It’s perhaps premature to proclaim the Raiders the winners of the trade until we see what the team gets out of the second first-round pick they got from the Chicago Bears. That said, Jon Gruden and company probably aren’t too sad about the trade right now while the Bears have to pay Mack the biggest salary out of any defensive player in the NFL.
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Raiders 2019 Draft Class Could Look Better in 2020
People are really pumped about the Raiders’ 2019 rookie class, but the world hasn’t even seen everything the class has to give. Las Vegas is very excited about safety Johnathan Abram. The former first-round pick has a ton of swagger and should be a playmaker for the team. He got hurt during the first game of the 2019 season and missed the rest of the year. If he’s as good as the Raiders are making it seem, he could go down as the best player in the entire class.
Cornerback Isaiah Johnson isn’t talked about as much because he was a fourth-round pick. However, the Raiders are also excited about his potential. Similar to Abram, Johnson didn’t see the field much in 2019 because of injury. He’s a dynamic athlete with excellent size. Seeing what the Raiders got out of their other fourth-round picks, it’s easy to imagine that Johnson carves out a substantial role with the team.