Regardless of what rumors have come out, it’s clear the Las Vegas Raiders missed on Lynn Bowden Jr. It’s very rare that a rookie third-rounder is traded right before the season and never playing in an NFL game. However, the Raiders clearly knew he wasn’t going to be a fit and decided to rip off the bandaid before it was too late.
There were rumors circulating that there was concern about Bowden’s character but general manager Mike Mayock revealed what went into the move:
No. 1, it was a football decision only. And character, off-the-field, the kid did absolutely nothing wrong. We did all our homework on the kid, off the field. He worked his tail off, he came to work every day. So, this was completely a football decision, had nothing to do with anything else. Quite frankly, I think the position change is a difficult one in any year. But it’s exaggerated in a COVID year with no offseason. So, you’re taking a kid that was a slot receiver in ’18, quarterback in ’19 and asking him to play running back in ’20. And, really, the only other thing I’m going to say about it is, it was my call. He was not able to play today at the level expected and because of that, we felt like we had to make a move. And, again, it’s 100 percent on me.
This fits more in line with the reports that Bowden did not have an impressive training camp on the field, more so than the idea that there were character concerns about him. That said, Mayock isn’t going to throw the rookie under the bus when he didn’t do anything specific. The big problem seems to be the fact that Bowden wasn’t equipped to be a running back and is better suited to play wide receiver. The Raiders didn’t need more wide receiver help and couldn’t rely on Bowden to be the backup running back. That’s why he’s headed to Miami.
Mayock Addresses Damarious Randall Move
Shortly before the roster cut down day, the Raiders another surprising move by releasing veteran defensive back Damarious Randall. It was expected that he’d be starting next to Johnathan Abram at safety but Las Vegas obviously had different plans. Mayock explained why they let him go.
“It was more about what Erik Harris did than anything else. I think we sometimes overlook how valuable a player Erik Harris is and we thought Damarious Randall would come in and compete with Erik for that spot, ultimately across from John Abram,” Mayock said.
It’s been quite a journey for Harris. He went from being a productive CFL player to an NFL journeyman to a starter. According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Randall only practiced once with the team. Harris is heading into his third year in this defense. He wasn’t going to lose his job to a guy who only practiced once.
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Mayock Eager to See DBs in Action
The Raiders are taking a significant risk this season by embracing youth in their secondary when there’s been a reduced offseason to get them prepared. Rookie Damon Arnette looks like he’s going to be starting across the field from 2019 second-round pick Trayvon Mullen. There will likely be some significant growing pains along the way.
“We have so many young guys there that we think are pretty talented, competitive kids and I think that’s been a really difficult position to evaluate without preseason games,” Mayock said. “And to be honest with you we are going to continue evaluating everywhere, but I can’t wait to see how our young guys respond against a really talented Carolina skill-position group.”
The young defensive backfield is going to have some tough tests this season. If they have success, the Raiders know they have the group figured out for a long time. If they look bad, it could be time to go back to the drawing board.