Las Vegas Raiders must regret disastrous 2020 NFL Draft

Las Vegas Raiders, Henry Ruggs III. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Las Vegas Raiders, Henry Ruggs III. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Las Vegas Raiders fans reflecting on their 2020 NFL Draft will see one of the worst franchise classes of the last 20 years.

The general school of thought on judging any NFL franchise’s draft is to wait at least three or four years before coming to any conclusions.

It is probably fair to say that the 2020 NFL Draft of the Las Vegas Raiders is the exception to the rule.

The Las Vegas Raiders can be recorded as having an absolute nightmare with their picks in 2020 for a variety of reasons. The worst part is the hope that fans must have felt for the times ahead. The Raiders had five picks in the first three rounds of 2020 and seven in total, a haul that at worst should add 1 top quality starter and at best should transform a roster into a conference contender.

Las Vegas Raiders must regret disastrous 2020 NFL Draft

Now, in just six days’ time, the Las Vegas Raiders have released both of their first-round picks from the 2020 NFL Draft, and multiple other picks are no longer with the franchise. While there is some misfortune to these releases, it is a failure of leadership to have both first-round picks be unsuccessful.

Henry Ruggs III was released by the Raiders following the tragic death of a young woman because of his actions. The wide receiver has been charged with four felony counts including driving under the influence resulting in death and reckless driving, alongside the possession of a loaded firearm in the car. Ruggs was driving at 156 mph, an absolutely unacceptable level of danger, and he will face court proceedings in the coming months. He will likely never play again and will be lucky to escape prison time.

Their second pick of the first round, Damon Arnette, was released just days after his compatriot. The 19th pick in 2020, he was a surprise first-round selection by Raiders GM Mike Mayock that has not worked out. Arnette was cut by the franchise after online videos surfaced of the cornerback behaving inappropriately with firearms and allegedly issuing death threats.

It is worth mentioning that, despite hindsight being perfect, these selections were also doubted at the time. Both Arnette and Ruggs had questions surrounding them.

Arnette had some personality and character issues raised about his time at Ohio State. Whilst he seemed to progress through his college years, perhaps the Raiders should have gone down another route. Trevon Diggs of the Cowboys was taken later in the draft and has eclipsed the production of any other defensive corner selected.

Ruggs showed some promise through the first season of his career. He sealed his draft selection with a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at that year’s scouting combine. However, the greater success of players picked after Ruggs places his number 12 pick under a different light. The depth of talent in 2020’s wide receiver class is obvious when Jerry Jeudy of the Broncos, CeeDee Lamb of the Cowboys, and Rookie of the Year Justin Jefferson of the Vikings were all selected after Ruggs that year.

The release of both first-round draft picks thanks to off-field issues suggests a lack of character, and for them to be the cornerstone selections for the future of the Raiders is the worst possible outcome general manager Mike Mayock could have imagined.

As if these selections weren’t bad enough, two of the Las Vegas Raiders’ three third-round picks worked out even worse for the franchise.

Lynn Bowden was selected as a converted running back from quarterback and was rated so badly that he was traded in the same summer he was drafted before even playing a snap for the Raiders. He was traded to Miami, alongside a 2021 sixth-round pick, for a fourth-rounder in 2021.

Safety Tanner Muse was also an undisputed bust. Like Bowden before him, he did not play a single game for the Raiders. He spent his rookie season inactive before being released this past summer.

Reviewing the 2020 NFL Draft cannot be done without looking at the context of the haul of picks for the year. Pouring salt in the wounds of fans, they came about thanks to a significant trade. Khalil Mack was a star defensive edge and among the league’s best defensive players toward the end of the franchise’s time in Oakland.

Of course, the now-infamous ex-head coach Jon Gruden decided he wasn’t worth paying elite money for. Mack was traded for first-round draft picks in 2019 and 2020, a sixth-round pick in 2021, and a third-round pick in 2020 alongside some less significant picks heading to Chicago.

This trade can be defined as an absolute bust for the Raiders. In the 4 seasons and 64 games since the Raiders have registered 86.5 sacks and 25 forced fumbles.

In contrast, Khalil Mack, playing in 11 fewer games, has recorded 36 sacks and 14 forced fumbles by himself, around half the production of an entire franchise. Enough said. Raiders’ fans are surely united in their disgust at these numbers, especially when defensive pressure has been a noticeable weakness for the Las Vegas Raiders.

The three players remaining in the squad to come from the 2020 NFL Draft are third-round receiver Leonard Edwards, fourth-round cornerback Amik Robertson, and fourth-round guard John Simpson ranked as below average at his position.  Simpson is the only player regularly starting. Losing Mack and having these returns to show for it shows just how badly the draft was handled.

Next. 2021 NFL picks, score predictions for Week 10. dark

Seven selections in one draft and only three players remain. Despite only two seasons removing us from these events, the Las Vegas Raiders NFL Draft of 2020 must go down as an absolute failure.