During the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders continued their trend of selecting players from top college football programs. Henry Ruggs comes from the Alabama powerhouse and Damon Arnette comes from the always good Ohio State. While they were both top contributors for really good teams, many have questioned the Raiders’ decision to take each of them where they did. It’s easy to see why both picks could be considered reaches despite the fact that Arnette and Ruggs fill major needs.
Regardless of what media pundits or fans think, players for the Raiders are hyped for their new teammates. Star running back Josh Jacobs saw some of the backlash for the picks on Twitter and defended the team.
The Raiders had detractors after last year’s draft, but few are questioning the team now. It’s hard to know exactly what a team gets from a draft class until the players actually hit the football field.
Jacobs Defends Clelin Ferrell
2020 isn’t the first general manager Mike Mayock has been criticized and probably won’t be his last. In 2019, the team took Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick and not many people were happy with the pick. The former Clemson defensive end was projected to go in the mid to late first round. Almost no one had him going in the top-five.
The critics were vindicated during the season as Ferrell didn’t put up the type of numbers you’d expect from a player drafted so high. Luckily, he’s still young and has plenty of time to develop into a stud. Josh Jacobs knows this and defended his teammate on Twitter.
Not every player comes into the NFL and is dominant right out of the gate – especially at defensive end. Ferrell is putting in the work this offseason and will be hungry to prove the critics wrong.
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Grading Raiders First Round
The Raiders did a good job of filling their two biggest needs in the draft, but it will remain a big question if they picked the right players at each position.
Henry Ruggs (B+) – Picking up Ruggs with the 12th pick might have gotten the team an A had Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb not still been on the board. Jeudy was a perfect fit for the team as he was considered an Antonio Brown “clone.” It’s understandable why the team would pass on Lamb as they were clearly looking for more speed. Regardless, Ruggs was not a bad pick by any means. He gives the Raiders an element on offense that they’ve been missing. The comparisons to Darrius Heyward-Bey are inevitable but they aren’t the same player at all. Other than speed, there are very few similarities between the two. Ruggs should be a playmaker for the Raiders from day one.
Damon Arnette (C-) – There’s a lot to like about the cornerback out of Ohio State. He’s tough, he’s experienced and quarterbacks didn’t complete a ton of passes on him during his senior season. If the Raiders got him in the third round, it would be an A+. Unfortunately, the team made the biggest reach of the first round by taking Arnette at 19.