The Las Vegas Raiders front office and coaching staff is surely smiling after what could be another great draft by Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden in which they added a number of talented players on both sides of the ball
It’s no secret that going into the draft the Raiders needed to address the wide receiver position as that was arguably their weakest in 2019.
They immediately changed that though by drafting Henry Ruggs III out of Alabama with their first pick of the draft at No. 12 overall.
According to Kyle Martin of Raiders.com, Gruden had a hard time deciding which receiver to take but is happy with his choice:
“We had a tough decision, obviously, there’s a lot of good receivers in this draft, but we were united on Ruggs,” Gruden explained. “Ruggs’ speed, his strength, his playing style, his versatility, is something we feel like we have to have back in this organization. We were known for speed in years past and we’re going to be known for speed going forward.”
Ruggs was one of the consensus top three receivers in the draft along with his college teammate Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb. The Raiders have valued speed above everything in the past, and that was again the case when they decided to go with Ruggs over the other two.
From a statistical standpoint, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had his best season to date in 2019. Despite that, with the Raiders’ lack of quality receivers and speed led to some difficulty passing the ball.
Luckily Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow did what they could to step up, but running back Josh Jacobs was clearly the focus of the Raiders offense last year. Once opposing defenses figured that out, it became much easier to slow down Jacobs and the Raiders.
This year, Gruden believes that with their wide receiver additions such as Ruggs, they will have a much more formidable offense:
“Now, we have the receivers to spread you out,” Gruden said. “If we want to go four wide, or five wide at a time that’s what we’ll do, but we have the ability now I think with our personnel to adapt on a weekly basis to attack whoever we’re playing, and play aggressively.”
The Raiders are definitely going to have an entertaining 2020 season. With a number of rookies and free-agent additions, they will be able to run a wide range of different looking sets to shake up any opposing defenses.