Las Vegas Raiders provide stark reminder of just how big a crapshoot the draft is

The Las Vegas Raiders declined to pick up the fifth-year option of their three first-round NFL Draft picks from 2019.

The New York Jets are the toast of the football world Friday after landing three highly touted players — Ahmad Gardner, Garrett Wilson, and Jermaine Johnson II — in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. But Las Vegas Raiders fans have some advice for their counterparts in Gotham: Don’t start booking those Super Bowl hotel flights yet. And maybe even hold off on buying custom jerseys.

Las Vegas Raiders whiff on 2019 NFL Draft

Three years ago, the Raiders were the team with three first-round picks. And although then-GM Mike Mayock didn’t receive the praise then that Joe Douglas is getting today, few would have envisioned the complete failure that day ended up being.

On Friday, the Raiders admitted complete organizational failure by announcing that they are not picking up the fifth-year option of any of those three former first-round picks — defensive end Clelin Ferrell, running back Josh Jacobs, and safety Johnathan Abram.

“We look forward to working with all three players and we will evaluate each situation individually moving forward,” the team said in a statement announcing the decision.

From a personnel process standpoint, this is a disaster. The 2019 draft was supposed to be the foundation of a new Raiders dynasty. Instead, the house was built on sand.

Raiders taking wait-and-see approach with Ferrell, Jacobs, and Abram

Ferrell was always a reach at pick No. 4, but even by those standards, he’s been a disappointment. He wasn’t even a starter in Year 3 and has 8 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 42 career games.

Jacobs has been solid, although not great, as a pro, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and over 1,000 yards per season. But he hasn’t come close to clearing the threshold necessary for the Raiders to guarantee him $8 million in 2023.

As for Abram, he’s allowed roughly 4 of 5 passes thrown his way to be completed the last two years, and his career passer rating against is over 110. Opposing passers lit him up for 5 touchdowns last year alone.

No surprise, then, that the Raiders are taking a wait-and-see approach with all three. Perhaps they have a breakthrough under new coach Josh McDaniels in Year 4. If that’s the case, the Raiders probably lost some value by not picking up their option this cycle.

But the more likely scenario is each is playing their final year in Vegas. That outcome certainly isn’t what the Jets and their fans want to think about right now. But they should at least prepare themselves for the possibility.


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