Raiders

NFL Draft 2020: Five bold Raiders predictions for next stage of rebuild

NFL Draft 2020: Five bold Raiders predictions for next stage of rebuild

Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock crushed their first draft together. The Raiders added seven players who contributed immediately, and Mayock's disciplined nature meshed well with Gruden, allowing the Silver and Black to execute a perfect draft.

The Raiders enter the 2020 draft with two first-round picks, three third-round selections and a few obvious needs. Recent history suggests Mayock and Gruden will check off those boxes and move the Raiders' rebuild onto the next stage. But the draft always has a few twists and turns, and the Raiders could always go off-book.

Here are five bold predictions for how the Raiders will attack the 2020 NFL Draft.

Go big or go home

Sitting at No. 12, the Raiders are in a prime position to trade up in the draft if the first few chips fall in their favor.

With teams picking off quarterbacks and offensive tackles in the first few picks, the Silver and Black see three defensive stars -- Jeff Okudah, Isaiah Simmons and Derrick Brown -- all begin to fall. With their defense still needing more playmakers, Gruden and Mayock trade up a few spots and nab another defensive cornerstone.

This a deep wide receiver class, so the Raiders feel confident they can address that position later on. Cornerback CJ Henderson and defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw are talented prospects, but Okudah, Simmons and Brown are in a league of their own.

After a lengthy back-and-forth, the Raiders decide to trade the No. 12 pick, a third-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick to the Carolina Panthers, moving up to No. 7 to draft Simmons.

Yes, the Raiders signed Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, but Simmons can play all over the field and is tailor-made for today's NFL.

Feeling the Love

Gruden loves quarterbacks. Mainly just talking to them, about them and dissecting their game. That love really hasn't translated into using important draft capital on a franchise signal-caller.

There's a first time for everything and 2020 is that year.

With the top three quarterbacks off the board, Utah State's Jordan Love is the top QB available as the Raiders' selection approaches at No. 19.

Love has a big arm and a ton of upside. His skill set could be the perfect one for Gruden and the Raiders to finally let it fly. The Miami Dolphins, having drafted Tua Tagovailoa at No. 5, draft wide receiver Justin Jefferson at No. 18, putting Gruden and Mayock on the clock. The top four receivers are gone and drafting a corner not named Okudah or Henderson would be a reach here.

A trade down looks likely, but instead, the Raiders send in their digital draft card with Love's name on it.

Welcome to Vegas, Jordan Love.

Listen and subscribe to the Raiders Talk Podcast

Load up the arsenal

In alternate universe No. 2, the Raiders believe they've done enough on defense to be a lot better on that side of the ball in 2020.

So, Gruden grabs CeeDee Lamb at No. 12, giving him the first explosive receiver of his second Raiders stint.

Derek Carr will be happy and that should lighten the load on tight end Darren Waller.

One, however, isn't enough for Gruden.

With Justin Jefferson still on the board when the Raiders go on the clock at No. 19, Gruden can't pass up adding another dynamic pass-catcher. Jefferson would have been the top wide receiver in a number of classes, and now gives the Raiders the ability to put he, Lamb, Waller, Hunter Renfrow and Tyrell Williams out there at once should the desire arise.

In the span of two moves, the Raiders' offense has gone from dink-and-dunk to nuclear.

Now, about that cornerback.

You can't lose if they can't score

The Raiders stocked up on defense in free agency, a move that should make defensive coordinator Paul Guenther very, very happy.

Wide receiver is a massive need but the Raiders could grab two solid prospects in Round 3, and Mayock has mentioned his weariness about taking receivers early.

So the Raiders decided to completely load up on the defensive side of the ball and worry about the offense another day.

At No. 12, the Raiders draft Kinlaw, an athletic defensive tackle who can be a force inside or shift outside to create havoc. He's raw, but the potential is very enticing.

Henderson drops into their lap at No. 19, and the Raiders just can't pass up adding another shutdown corner to a secondary that now includes Trayvon Mullen, Johnathan Abram and Damarious Randall.

It's a new day for the Silver and Black's defense.

[RELATED: First-round mock draft with surprising trades]

The Las Vegas Crimson Tide

The Raiders stocked up on talented players from winning cultures in 2019. That should continue in 2020.

While Clemson was the program targeted last year, Gruden and Mayock decide to go swimming the Alabama well this year.

Henry Ruggs is the selection at No. 12 and safety Xavier McKinney is the call at No. 19. They find a way to get into the second round to take cornerback Trevon Diggs.

In the third round, the Raiders add defensive tackle Raekwon Davis and quarterback Jalen Hurts, who began his career at Alabama before transferring to Oklahoma.

Stick to the formula, it's worked so far.

Raiders discussing fan options at Allegiant as 2020 NFL season nears

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USATSI

Raiders discussing fan options at Allegiant as 2020 NFL season nears

As the NFL regular season approaches, assuming the rise in COVID-19 cases doesn’t cancel it, the Raiders are having ongoing internal discussions about a number of different options and approaches for a rabid season-ticket base that completely sold out brand new Allegiant Stadium.

As the Raiders continue to sort through the situation, they have indefinitely pushed back the deadline for final payment on 2020 season tickets. Meanwhile, longtime Raiders fans like Kenny King Jr., a Northern California resident and 2020 season-ticket holder, is holding out hope he will be front and center when the Raiders play their first season in Las Vegas.

“I definitely do intend to go to games this year and have already booked for the opener and Chiefs games,” said King, the son of former Raiders running back Kenny King.

Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal

 

Catching up on 'Sports Uncovered': Behind-the-scenes, untold stories

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NBC Sports

Catching up on 'Sports Uncovered': Behind-the-scenes, untold stories

Want to hear behind-the-scenes, untold stories about iconic athletes or moments in sports? You've come to the right place. 

That is the exact premise of NBC Sports' Sports Uncovered podcast.

Four such untold stories have been covered so far. Missed any of them? Not to worry, you can catch up here.

You better get a move on, because next Thursday, July 9, a fifth episode will be released on the disappearance of Barret Robbins at Super Bowl 37. You won't want to miss it.

Sports Uncovered is available in the MyTeams app and all podcasting platforms: AppleStitcherSpotifyGoogle PodcastsTuneIn and iHeart.

Check out the latest podcast embedded below.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]