The Las Vegas Raiders head into the draft with their need at wide receiver being quite obvious. They almost completely ignored the position in free agency, so it’s become abundantly clear that the plan is to draft a wide receiver somewhat early. General manager Mike Mayock essentially admitted as much recently.
“There’s no secret that we need to get better at wideout, we understand that,” Mayock said on a Tuesday conference call. “We really like adding Nelson Agholor, but we still need to get better at wideout. And again, it’s kind of like the corner conversation, I think you got to let it come to you a little bit and whether it’s in the first round, second round, third round, fifth round I’m hoping we can find a wideout that fits what the Raiders need and fits our culture.”
Considering how lackluster the wide receiver corps was in 2019 for the Raiders, any of the top prospects in the draft would probably help fit their needs. The team has often been linked to either Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs who are generally thought of as the top three wide receivers in the draft. However, Mayock made it seem like it won’t be so simple for the Raiders.
“There’s a whole bunch of wide-outs,” Mayock said. “There’s all kinds of flavors and sizes. If you need a big X, there’s a bunch of big X receivers out there. If you need a guy that can play slot and Z, yes, check, there’s a bunch of them. If you’re looking for (a No. 1 wide receiver), there could be a wide receiver No. 1 in the third round.”
Having to wait until the third round to take a wide receiver would almost certainly drive the fan base crazy. It’s hard to know exactly what the Raiders will do, but passing on a wide receiver in the first round is very possible.
Raiders Looking for Speed?
While the Raiders can’t go wrong with any of the top wide receivers in the draft, NFL insider Adam Caplan says he knows what the team is looking for.
If they are indeed looking for speed, Henry Ruggs would probably be the play at number 12. He’s the fastest of the top guys and has often been compared to Tyreek Hill. Jon Gruden is very familiar with Hill at this point and it’s safe to assume that he wouldn’t mind having a player like that on his team.
However, don’t count out Jerry Jeudy. He’s plenty fast and his Antonio Brown comparison will definitely pique Gruden’s interest. CeeDee Lamb might be out of the running if what Caplan is saying is correct. He’s the slowest of the bunch.
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Mayock Is Excited About Having 3 Third Round Picks
It’s clear based on last year’s draft that Mike Mayock likes having picks in later rounds. Some of his best finds were in the fourth and fifth rounds. The general manager is excited about having two picks at the top, but he seems even more excited about some of his other picks.
“What’s intriguing about our picks this year, obviously I am very thankful to have two first-round picks, but we have three in the third,” Mayock said. “That to me, three picks in the third is just like stealing. If we’re doing our jobs the right way, hopefully that’s three more starters. Could we move up to get one, could we move back to get one, between 20 and 60, sure.”
The Raiders actually didn’t have any picks in the third round last season, so it remains to be seen how Mayock will do with those picks.