With Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft in the books and two massive questions answered (at least in theory), the Las Vegas Raiders return to the draft on Friday with three more selections that could propel them forward in their quest for improvement. Unfortunately, none of those picks are in the second round, and so there will be a bit of a wait, but by all accounts, there should be quite a bit of talent left when they get on the clock.
So what players are left at positions of need? Who are some names to keep an eye on?
Yes, the Raiders drafted a receiver at No. 12 but it would surprise nobody if the Raiders dipped back into this well — especially in a year where the guy available at No. 80 is probably graded as a second-rounder.
Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman, Denzel Mims and KJ Hamler will probably be among the names of players off the board before the Raiders pick — but there are plenty of other guys who could be available.
Some names to watch: Laviska Shenault, Bryan Edwards, Van Jefferson, Antonio Gandy-Golden and Tyler Johnson. Each of these guys brings something different to the table — with Shenault offering the YAC that NFL teams crave, while Gandy-Golden offers the size that the Raiders could use alongside the shorter Ruggs.
Again, isn’t it reasonable that the Raiders dip back into this market in hopes of taking another swing at a position of need? It’s possible, and again, the third round is believed to be a sweet spot for value here.
Names to watch: Amik Robertson, Cameron Dantzler and Bryce Hall.
This isn’t an immediate need for the Raiders, but Demarious Randall is only signed for one year, and so it’ll become a need shortly. Terrell Burgess of Utah is a name that has been linked to the Raiders, as has Ashtyn Davis of California. Whether either of those guys is around at 80 remains to be seen, but either would be a strong addition.
Yes, the Raiders have Josh Jacobs, but they’ve made it clear that this is a position they would like to add depth to in order to give Jacobs a break from time to time. If it were up to me, this would be a position I’d wait until the fourth or fifth round to address, but if Jon Gruden starts pounding the table, they’ll probably get their pick of the second-wave of backs to come off the board.
AJ Dillon is a massive guy that would give them a new look out of the backfield (and seems to fit with what Gruden and Mayock love), while Antonio Gibson offers the unique versatility that a lot of teams seem to be interested in.
There’s nothing less exciting than drafting an offensive lineman, but at some point you’ve got to. Gabe Jackon’s future in Las Vegas remains a mystery, while Denzelle Good doesn’t appear to be a long-term solution up front. Some names that could fall into the Raiders’ lap are guys like Robert Hunt from Louisiana, John Simpson of Clemson and Damien Lewis of LSU.
If the Raiders liked one of these guys enough, it’s possible that Jackson could be traded for a later-round pick in order to free up some cap space.
While the Yannick Ngakoue rumors came and went pretty quickly on Thursday morning, the Raiders still remain unproven along the defensive line. Yes, they have a lot of recognizable names and bodies there, but very few who deserve to be written in ink for key roles this season.
James Lynch from Baylor is a guy I’ve liked throughout the process and who falls right into this range, while Neville Gallimore from Oklahoma would be another interesting pick — and a bet on upside — at this point in the draft.
Yes, the Raiders spent a ton of cash addressing this position (finally), but they could still use one more rotational player — along with some much-needed depth as well. Of all the positions, this feels like one that is a good bet to get addressed either today or tomorrow.
Willie Gay Jr, Troy Dye and Davion Taylor are all dudes who feel like they fit both where the NFL is heading, but also what the Raiders are looking for.
No. 80 — James Lynch
No. 81 — Terrell Burgess
No. 90 — Van Jefferson