Insider Links Raiders to Alabama Wide Receiver in Upcoming Draft

jon gruden

Getty Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

The 2020 NFL Draft is getting closer and closer and the Las Vegas Raiders will finally get a chance to fix their wide receiver issues. The team picked a good time to have a need at the position as this wide receiver class is loaded with talent. While there are good players to be had at many different points in the draft, there are three wide receivers who will be the first off the board.

Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and CeeDee Lamb are all likely to get selected within the first 20 picks of the draft and all of them would help the Raiders. Each guy brings something different to the table, but Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated is reporting that there’s a specific skill set that Jon Gruden is looking for:

The Niners could take a left tackle if one falls to them (I’ve heard they’d like to keep Mike McGlinchey on the right side long-term), but count them with the Raiders as teams that could be in play to pull the first receiver off the board. A couple teams mentioned to me that Jon Gruden is looking for, specifically, a ‘Z’ receiver and Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy is the prototype for that (even if CeeDee Lamb’s a little more of the gritty type that Gruden likes).

A “Z” receiver is also called a “flanker” and they typically lineup off the line of scrimmage. He is also usually the team’s featured wide receiver. As Breer pointed out, Jeudy fills that role perfectly, but don’t count out CeeDee Lamb.

Can’t Go Wrong With Jeudy or Lamb

Lamb may not be as strong a fit to play the “Z” receiver as Jeudy is, but he’s good enough to make it not matter. Honestly, the Raiders can’t go wrong be taking either of them at 12. Jeudy is the safer pick and should be ready to make an impact from day one. He’s also a perfect fit for what Gruden is looking for.

Lamb is the more exciting player thanks to his elite ability after the catch and some of the circus catches he’s made. He may not be exactly what Gruden’s offense calls for right now, but he could be too exciting to pass up. Both players would make Derek Carr very happy and there isn’t much that separates them.

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Will Raiders Double up on WRs in First 3 Rounds?

While the Raiders are prone to surprises, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that they’ll select a wide receiver in the first round of the draft. Some have suggested that they could even use both of their first-round picks on wide receivers. That seems unlikely, but it’s very possible they use one of their third-round picks to sure up the position.

The wide receiver talent is so deep in this draft that the Raiders could find serious skill in the third round. One name to keep an eye on is Michael Pittman Jr. out of USC. He put up big numbers during his senior season and has good athletism for somebody his size. His excellent ball skills would make a dynamic red zone target. It’s probably a pipe dream he’ll be available in the third round, but if the Raiders snag him and Jerry Jeudy, they could have the most exciting young wide receiver corps in the NFL.

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