There's little doubt the Raiders' braintrust of coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock didn't watch LSU's win over Clemson on Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. The Silver and Black had an outstanding 2019 NFL Draft class, led by four players from the title game.
Gruden and Mayock could follow that same blueprint and go after some talented Tigers who suited up in this year's national championship, especially with two first-round picks. But the later round matter too, as the Raiders learned this past April.
As they move to Las Vegas, the Raiders need another impressive haul from the draft. Some steals in Day 2 and 3 will only speed up their timeline back to greatness. With the 2019 season in the rearview mirror, Gruden and Mayock already have their eyes on the 2020 draft.
The two were seen Tuesday morning in St. Petersburg, Florida watching practice for the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl. While the Shrine Bowl mostly features unheralded prospects who will be selected later in the draft, many future NFL stars have been featured in the game.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and receiver Emmanuel Sanders are one win away from leading the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV, and both previously played in the college All-Star Game. Other alums include Washington cornerback Josh Norman, Green Bay Packers defensive end Za'Darius Smith and former Seattle Seahawks star safety Kam Chancellor.
The Raiders found solid contributors late in the draft last year with defensive end Maxx Crosby (fourth round), tight end Foster Moreau (fourth round) and receiver Hunter Renfrow (fifth round). Can the Raiders do the same this year? They'll have plenty of chances.
After selecting twice in the first round, the Raiders will again be on the clock three times in the third round, once in the fourth and once in the seventh.
The East-West Shrine Bowl will be played Saturday, Jan. 18 at Tropicana Field. Perhaps Gruden and Mayock can find more late-round talent that will push the Raiders to the playoffs in the near future.