The Las Vegas Raiders had two first-round picks this year. With their first, general manager Mike Mayock selected wide receiver Henry Ruggs III and followed that up with cornerback Damon Arnette. Pro Football Network was lucky enough to be joined by Raiders’ defensive end Maxx Crosby to get his opinion on the new additions.[sv slug=mocksim]
Maxx Crosby’s reaction to the Raiders’ selections
Reaction to Henry Ruggs III being selected
Reaction to Damon Arnette being selected
What can Henry Ruggs III bring to Las Vegas?
Throughout the 2020 NFL Draft process, there was no question that Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden would look to add to their wide receiver room with one of the Raiders’ first-round picks. The only real mystery was which one of Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs it would be. Now we know that, with all three available, Ruggs III is the man for the silver and black.
Ruggs III enters a Las Vegas wide receiver room that hasn’t seen a 1,000-yard wide receiver since trading Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys in October of 2018. The Raiders thought they had their man last year, with the free agency splash signing of Antonio Brown, but after that situation turned sour, they had to lean on tight end Darren Waller, Tyrell Williams, and rookie sensation Hunter Renfrow.
He brings electrifying speed, posting a 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Ruggs III led all Alabama receivers in yards per reception and gives the Raiders the field stretching option that Gruden loves in his offense.
Here is what Tony Pauline had to say about Ruggs in his scouting report:
“Explosive game-breaking skill player who is effective as a receiver and kick returner. Fast with a tremendous burst of speed that he turns on in a single step. Extends or lays out to make the difficult reception and displays solid hand-eye coordination and concentration.
He comes back into the clearing to make himself an available target, tracks the pass in the air, and gets vertical to come away with the difficult catch. Easily makes the reception in stride at full speed. Quickly transitions upfield after the catch. Gives effort as a blocker.”
With Ruggs secured with the opening selection of the Raiders’ two first-round picks, the attention moves to the 19th overall selection. The Raiders put together a solid draft class in the 2019 first round, with Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram following on from the selection of Clelin Ferrell. Can they hit the jackpot in Las Vegas with similar success? Most 2020 NFL mock drafts have the Raiders selecting a cornerback with this selection.
Breaking down the Damon Arnette selection
With the second of the Raiders first-round picks and the 19th overall, the Las Vegas Raiders select Damon Arnette, CB Ohio State. After addressing the priority wide receiver need with Ruggs, Mayock and Gruden take care of business at the cornerback position, another major area of need.
After solidifying the defensive line in the 2019 NFL Draft, it was highly anticipated that the Raiders would look to upgrade the secondary in the first round. They had ranked in the bottom ten for passing yards allowed, touchdowns given up, and had the fourth-fewest interceptions in the NFL in 2019.
Arnette joins fellow Ohio State defensive back Jeffrey Okudah in landing in the first round, helping solidify the Buckeyes claim to being DBU. Arnette has logged an interception in every single season as a Buckeye. He was encouraged to return for his senior season to improve his draft stock, and it has certainly worked in his favour.
This from Tony Pauline’s scouting report on Arnette:
“Terrific cornerback with a complete game and underrated ability. Engages receivers at the line of scrimmage, mixes it up through the route, and stays on opponents’ hips downfield. Gets his head back around extremely well to locate the pass in the air, displays terrific awareness and shows a closing burst of speed.
Fluid in his backpedal, quickly flips his hips in transition and bursts to the ball out of his plant. Possesses solid overall ball skills. Tough run defender who gives great effort and squares into tackles.”
Unless the Las Vegas Raiders trade up into the back end of the first round, their business on the opening day of the 2020 NFL Draft is complete, with two major needs ticked off their list.