The Las Vegas Raiders filled both of their biggest needs in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. However, it’s questionable if they picked the best players available at both positions. The team decided to make the first major surprise of the draft by taking Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette with the 19th pick. Almost nobody saw him getting selected in the first round, let alone the top-20 picks. The Raiders should’ve done what they could to trade down, even if the compensation wasn’t great.
While picking Arnette later in the first round or in the second round would’ve been much more palatable, general manager Mike Mayock claimed they didn’t even try to trade down.
“The reason he’s not a reach is because of his grade in our system,” Mayock said after the first round. “Did I think we could have moved down maybe and still got him? Maybe, but we didn’t want to lose him. What distinguishes him is No. 1, he can run. No. 2, he’s tough as nails and when you talk about competitors.”
It’s hard to buy the idea that the Raiders didn’t at least attempt to trade down. Regardless, Mayock saw something in Arnette that many others didn’t see. It’s hard not to trust his judgement thanks to his strong showing last year, but the world will quickly know if taking the Ohio State cornerback was a mistake as he’ll probably play a lot early.
Raiders Like Arnette’s Toughness
One of the most appealing things about Arnette coming in is that he should be ready to play on day one. He spent five years in Ohio State’s football program and is 24 years old. He’s older than Trayvon Mullen, Josh Jacobs, Johnathan Abram and Maxx Crosby. Considering he could be asked to start immediately, his age could be a positive thing.
It’s also clear that the Raiders like his toughness. According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a source within the franchise singled out Arnette’s toughness.
The cornerback played almost the entirety of last season with a broken wrist.
“When I found out it was broken, I didn’t even think twice about it,” Arnette said, per Elevenwarrior.com. “I was just like ‘Oh ok.’ Because I was already playing with it.
“It just is what it is right now. I’m just trying to keep my head down until we run through the finish line, then I’ll be able to look up and see what I’ve played through and what we’ve accomplished, after we’ve accomplished what we need to accomplish.”
Say what you want about Arnette, but there’s denying he’s a tough guy. He should fit right in with the Raiders.
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Raiders Struggle With Trading Down
As a talent evaluator, Mike Mayock proved to very adept last year. As a deal maker with other teams, he’s still got some work to do. For whatever reason, he’s got an issue pulling off trades. He reportedly tried to trade down from four last year so they could get Clelin Ferrell later, but it didn’t happen.
Mayock also tried to trade down from 12 to 14 this year, according to Vic Tafur. Obviously, that didn’t happen. That’s now two years in a row the Raiders have reached on players they probably could’ve gotten at later picks. It’s not ideal, but Mayock is still pretty new to the job.