After three seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders, the love affair with Jon Gruden is starting to come to an end. He has yet to get the team back into the playoffs and continues to make questionable moves. Mike Mayock is technically the general manager but everybody knows that Gruden gets the final say on all decisions.
So far, that’s been a disaster for the team. In fact, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com went through and ranked all the general managers based on their draft history. The combo of Gruden and Mayock ranked last in the NFL:
I’m counting Gruden’s first draft in this exercise because he’s had final say, even since Mike Mayock’s arrival. The Raiders have taken five first-round draft picks in the last two years, and the best player is running back Josh Jacobs. Mayock’s first draft class looked a lot better before the 2020 season, when Maxx Crosby, Trayvon Mullen and Jacobs took a step back. First-round safety Johnathan Abram’s aggressiveness was used against him in his first healthy season. Taking Henry Ruggs first among all receivers in a deep class last April was a big risk that didn’t pay off in Year 1. Selecting Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall in 2019 was a similarly big swing that’s been fouled off so far. I like Mullen and 2020 first-round cornerback Damon Arnette more than most, but the Raiders’ vision for many of their players has yet to be realized.
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Have Gruden & Mayock Really Been That Bad?
There’s no arguing against the fact that Gruden and Mayock have done a poor job in the draft. The Raiders simply haven’t consistently found impact players. The team has had six first-round picks in the last three years. The players they selected were Kolton Miller, Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs, Johnathan Abram, Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette.
Out of those six guys, Jacobs and Miller look like the only Pro Bowl-level players. Having all of those picks should’ve kickstarted a rebuild but it’s fair to question if Ferrell, Abram, Ruggs or Arnette can play at a high level. Mayock was a draft expert before taking the Raiders job. If there’s anything he should be doing well, it should be drafting. He only has two years under his belt so perhaps Year 3 will be when he finally changes course.
Not Every Pick Has Been Bad
Though Gruden and Mayock haven’t been great, it’s probably not fair to say they’ve been the worst out of every NFL team. The combo has made some really good picks. Grabbing Maxx Crosby and Foster Moreau in the fourth round of the 2019 draft were solid picks and getting Hunter Renfrow in the fifth round of that draft was another savvy move.
There’s also still plenty of time for other players drafted to make an impact. To label Ruggs, Arnette and Abram busts already is very shortsighted. Each of those guys has a lot of talent. Now that Gus Bradley is taking over the defense it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of the younger defenders take a leap in 2021.