The poor draft picks from the Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock era for the Las Vegas Raiders have been relitigated recently with the team waiving 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood. He wasn’t the first bad pick the duo made and at least he played a full season with the team. There were a number of picks the Raiders made under Gruden and Mayock who never suited up for one regular season game.
The most notable is former Kentucky standout Lynn Bowden Jr. The Raiders drafted him in the third round of the 2020 draft and the plan was for him to play backup running back to Josh Jacobs. That was an odd choice as he mostly played quarterback and wide receiver in college. His versatility made him interesting but it wasn’t a pick the Raiders needed to make. That became clear early on. The team traded him to the Miami Dolphins for a fourth-round pick before he ever took a snap during a game.
It was a surprise the Raiders gave up on him so quickly but it was obvious that the idea of having him play running back was a bad one. Miami switched him to wide receiver and he showed some flashes but missed all of last season with an injury. He ended up getting cut by the Dolphins after training camp. He wasn’t a free agent for long. The New England Patriots announced that they’ve signed Bowden to the practice squad.
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Can Bowden Turn Things Around?
Bowden is a very interesting weapon for a creative team to use. He may never be an elite quarterback, running back or wide receiver but he’s a good player to have if a team can use all of those skillsets. The Patriots might not be the best landing spot for him right now. The team doesn’t have a defined offensive coordinator and it looks like they could digress this season.
That said, there will also be plenty of opportunities for offensive weapons to step up. It won’t be hard for him to get on the active roster if he shows that he can make plays. More than anything, the Patriots need playmakers right now.
Will Raiders Improve in the Draft Under Dave Ziegler?
Bowden wasn’t the first miss by Gruden and Mayock and certainly wasn’t the last. If the Raiders hope to have any sustained success, they need to dramatically improve their drafting. New general manager Dave Ziegler traded away the team’s first and second picks this year to get Davante Adams so it’s going to take a while to see how he performs in the draft.
Ziegler comes from the Patriots which is a team that has struggled in the draft in recent years. Head coach Bill Belichick controls everything in New England but that’s who Ziegler learned from. The hope is that he has a much better process for drafting players.
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