The NFL Draft is just days away and the Las Vegas Raiders are going to have some big decisions on their hands. They have a huge need at wide receiver and this draft is loaded with them. It’s anybody’s guess if the team favors Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, CeeDee Lamb or someone else. While the Raiders couldn’t go wrong with taking any of the three top guys, Peter King at Pro Football Talk said in a recent mock draft predicted the team to select Lamb and he explained why:
Maybe the toughest call I had to make Sunday evening, having the Raiders bypass Tua Tagovailoa for Lamb. I did it because I keep hearing both Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden are intrigued with new backup Marcus Mariota; adding Tagovailoa might be the best thing for 2023, but it’s not so great for 2020. But they could do it. As for Lamb: Mayock loves him, thinks he’s the most complete receiver in the draft, and even though I think Gruden likely would prefer the take-the-top-off speed of Henry Ruggs, he’s happy to have a true number one receiver who can win consistently against NFL-caliber corners.
Based on what King is saying, it sounds like the decision will be between Lamb or Ruggs with the Oklahoma wide receiver winning out. Interestingly, there’s no mention of Jeudy, who has recently been called an Antonio Brown “clone.” It wouldn’t be too much work for Gruden to dust off some of the old plays he drew up for Brown and repurpose them for Jeudy.
However, if the Raiders prefer Lamb, it’s hard to argue why they’d like him. His ability to get big yards after the catch is second to none in the draft and he’s got an incredible pair of hands. He’d definitely play a big role in fixing the Raiders’ drop issues.
King Has Raiders Taking CB at No. 19
If Las Vegas decides to wide receiver at 12, that means the move will probably be to take a cornerback with their second first-round pick. The team would have cause for celebration if Florida’s C.J. Henderson fell to them, but that’s highly unlikely to happen. With Henderson predicted to be off the board, Peter King thinks the move will be to draft Kristian Fulton out of LSU:
After the first two corners go, the rest are in a hug mosh pit. Fulton is a PFF darling, rated the 12th-best player in the draft—ahead of C.J. Henderson, Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw—and trailing only Jeff Okudah in the cornerback class. He falls into the class of player GM Mike Mayock loves: big-time player in a national championship program, though some have been down on him for cheating on a drug test, which led to a one-year ban in 2017. He’d be the kind of competitive and tested player Jon Gruden loves.
Fulton would probably be available a little bit later in the first round, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to trade down a few spots if they really like Fulton. He’s big and fast, which fits in with what the Raiders like. He’d be a solid find if they can’t land Henderson
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Are Broncos Trying to Trade Ahead of Raiders?
The Raiders aren’t the only other team in need of wide receiver help. The Denver Broncos are also expected to address the position in the first round. Denver picks after the Raiders and some other teams who could take wide receivers, so they could easily miss out on the big three. According to The Gazette’s Woody Paige, the Broncos like Jerry Jeudy and could be willing to move up to get him.
It would definitely be a blow to the Raiders if they like Jeudy and the Broncos stole him from them. The cost to move up that many spots in the first round is steep and seems unlikely Denver would actually do it considering the depth of wide receiver talent in the draft.