Raiders' Trayvon Mullen has chance to play Broncos after scary collision

Raiders' Trayvon Mullen has chance to play Broncos after scary collision

ALAMEDA – The Raiders received some good news on the injury front.

Head coach Jon Gruden said Monday there’s a chance cornerbacks Travyon Mullen (head/neck) and Lamarcus Joyner (calf) could play Sunday’s do-or-die game in Denver to wrap the regular season.

That’s great news for Mullen, who was involved in a scary incident where teammate Curtis Riley initiated helmet-to-helmet contract trying to make a tackle in Sunday’s 24-17 victory over the LA Chargers.

Mullen was on the ground for an extended period, strapped to a backboard and placed on a stretcher before being carted off the field. He was taken to a Carson-area hospital for further examination, but he was released in time to fly home on the team charter.

Gruden didn’t provide a specific diagnosis, but Mullen obviously is doing well if there’s a real prospect he’ll play against the Broncos.

He posted a "thank you" for all of the well wishes late Sunday night.

Getting Joyner back would lift up an ailing secondary that finished the Chargers game with a skeleton crew.

[RELATED: Raiders report card: Grading the Silver and Black after beating Chargers]

Gruden also said Josh Jacobs could be coming back after missing two of the last three games with a fractured shoulder. Jacobs has played through significant pain before, and it might be worth it with a playoff spot up for grabs.

The Raiders need to beat Denver and have a lot go right to claim the AFC’s No. 6 seed, but won’t know if the stars have aligned until after results of the afternoon kickoffs.

Gruden said the best guys will play regardless of playoff scenarios.

“We’re going to play the best players we have available and try to win the game,” Gruden said. “We don’t have enough bodies to rest players at this point.”

Gruden also said that left guard Richie Incognito (ankle) would be questionable heading into the regular-season finale.

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders have first-round options to fill glaring WR need

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders have first-round options to fill glaring WR need

The Raiders desperately need a top wide receiver.

That’s a shocking revelation to be sure. Probably should add “BREAKING:” before that first sentence, or maybe “This just in.”

Or, sarcasm aside, it’s as big and obvious a need as there is heading into the NFL draft. Raiders fans and NFL followers at large know this to be true, and it would be a surprising development if the Silver and Black didn’t take a receiver at either No. 12 or No. 19 overall.

It’s possible the Raiders could take a receiver high and again with one of three second round picks as they flesh out a position decimated by Antonio Brown’s implosion last summer and a series of unsuccessful receiver trades and free-agent signings.

While they need a really need a cornerback and could use defensive line help and an extra running back, receiver should reign supreme on the Raiders checklist. Lucky for general manager Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden, this is as deep a receiver class as you’ll see. There’s quality deep into the middle rounds, with three elite prospects and several first-round talents after that.

Let’s take a look at options the Raiders could have available with their first-round picks.

As a note, there’s obviously no guarantee how the NFL draft will go, and most expert mock drafts blow up after a few picks or a blockbuster trades, so this is an estimate for who might be around at a particular pick.

No. 12 overall

CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma (6-foot-2, 198 pounds): The former Sooner is typically ranked atop this receiver class, with debate about who’s best among him and Jerry Jeudy. Throw Henry Ruggs in there as well, with his freak athletic gifts possibly making him the first receiver taken.

Lamb, however, is my favorite. He’s a dynamic outside threat who can make plays at every level. His yards after the catch are unreal, though college coverage played into that, and that’s a trait vital to Jon Gruden’s offense. The Raiders offensive mastermind loves it when a quarterback makes a safe and smart pass leading a receiver into space, and Lamb can take full advantage of that. He has good hands and can create separation while running routes. There’s some concern about him handling physical NFL corners and was often schemed open, but coaches can work on techniques and pro-style route refinement. He might be gone before the Raiders pick at No. 12, but he’d be hard to pass up if available.

Jerry Jeudy, Alabama, Alabama (6-foot-1, 193 pounds): Picking between Jeudy and Lamb is like choosing between steak and lobster. Both guys are elite prospects expected to make an instant impact. Jeudy is considered an excellent route runner, with sharp and precise movements to create separation within a pro-style offense. He knows how to work cornerbacks and create leverage and space. Some analysts believe he’ll be best in the slot, a spot Hunter Renfrow occupies with the Raiders. He can work all three levels and seems as ready as any receiver to make an instant impact.

Henry Ruggs, Alabama (5-foot-11, 188 pounds): Ruggs is offensive rocket fuel, an athletic freak with a track star’s speed. He ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, the quicks required to blow past college stars and pros alike. He isn’t just a straight runner, with more route savvy than one might expect. Analysts believe he’ll have to work on his releases dealing with press coverage, but he’s got Tyreek Hill speed. Gruden wants a Tyreek Hill-type of player in his pattern. While he doesn’t possess some of the traits Lamb or Jeudy have, he could still be the first receiver taken and it’s hard to imagine he’ll be around for the Raiders’ second pick in the first round.

[RELATED: NFL Draft 2020: Six receiver prospects Raiders should target on Day 2]

No. 19 overall

Justin Jefferson, LSU (6-foot-1, 202 pounds): The former Tiger has great hands and ball skills and could be a solid possession receiver. He can move inside and out, though his big season came primarily working from the slot. He could use more precise route running, but those are things coaches can work on considering his solid build and savvy finding the football. Can he create separation from the outside at the next level? That’s something Raiders scouts will have to ponder before making a Jefferson pick.

Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State (5-foot-11, 205 pounds): News broke from NFL Network on Tuesday that Aiyuk that had surgery on a core muscle injury, though the delayed/eliminate offseason work due to the coronavirus pandemic may make this a non-factor in terms of missing on-field time. Teams will still factor that into their decision, especially with an inability to bring him in for a late pre-draft visit. There are upsides that make him worth the 19th pick or an option in a trade down. He’s solid after the catch and tracks the ball well, especially on deep routes. He can move around the field, something Gruden would like, in addition to a knack for making big plays out of nothing.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado (6 feet, 227 pounds): The former Buffalo has the biggest frame on this list, with the power to separate and act like a running back after the catch. He can create leverage and explosive plays, and is the willing run blocker Gruden loves. He doesn’t have the raw speed of others on this list and has battled injury issues the last two years. This is another player possibly available at a slight trade back from 19, allowing the Raiders to pick up a quality receiver and another pick.

Other names to consider: Tee Higgins, Clemson; Denzel Mims, Baylor; Jalen Reagor, TCU

NFL mock draft 2020: Raiders grab elite receiver, address secondary

NFL mock draft 2020: Raiders grab elite receiver, address secondary

The Raiders have glaring needs out wide and in the secondary.

Their passing offense struggled after Antonio Brown ejected himself to the moon, and they need to find a cornerback to pair opposite Trayvon Mullen. A long-term answer at safety and a franchise defensive tackle also could be in the cards as the Raiders prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft. With two picks in the first round -- Nos. 12 and 19 -- general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden have a golden opportunity to stack more talent on top of the loaded 2019 draft class.

The prevailing logic has the Raiders using one of their top picks on an elite wide receiver and the other on a plug-and-play corner. NBC Sports Bay Area's Dalton Johnson and Josh Schrock have the Raiders selecting Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy at No. 12 and Alabama safety Xavier McKinney at No. 19.

[RELATED: Six WRs for Raiders to target later in NFL draft]

With the draft quickly approaching, let's see what some of the top draft experts expect the Silver and Black to do.

Todd McShay, ESPN: WR CeeDee Lamb (No. 12), S Antoine Winfield (No 19.)
Lamb: "The Raiders were pretty active on the defensive side of the ball in free agency, so we're looking at offense here. Lamb is incredible after the catch and could be Vegas' No. 1 receiver. Tyrell Williams isn't the answer, and with both Lamb and Alabama burner Henry Ruggs III still on the board, the Raiders have to get quarterback Derek Carr a weapon."
Winfield: "Earlier in Round 1, we slotted Vegas with a top-tier wide receiver to help the offensive passing game. Now, we're diving in on a defensive passing game that is in need of a punch. Corner is definitely a bigger issue than safety, but Winfield has tremendous versatility. He is undersized, but he is a hard-hitting tackler with ball skills. Coach Jon Gruden would love bringing in this kid."

Mel Kiper, ESPN: CB CJ Henderson (No. 12), WR Tee Higgins (No. 19)
Henderson: "After the Raiders signed both Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkowski in free agency, you can scratch off-ball linebacker from their list of needs. That still leaves wide receiver and cornerback, though. And since Las Vegas has two first-round picks and this class of receivers is much deeper at the top than the cornerback group, let's give Jon Gruden & Co. a potential No. 1 corner in Henderson here. He had an up-and-down 2019 season, but he cemented his standing as the second-ranked cornerback in this class at the combine, where he ran a 4.39 40. The Raiders get to grab a receiver at No. 19. Could Vegas be an option if one of the other quarterbacks -- Justin Herbert or Jordan Love -- make it here?"
Higgins: "If the Raiders take a cornerback at No. 12, they have to address receiver here. They can't go into the season with Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Nelson Agholor as Derek Carr's top wideouts. So how about Renfrow's college teammate, Higgins, a 6-foot-3 pass-catcher with elite ball skills. Higgins isn't a speedster -- he didn't work out at the combine, but he ran a 4.54 40 at his pro day -- but he could be an instant red zone threat for Carr."

Daniel Jeremiah, WR Jerry Jeudy (No. 12), CB A.J. Terrell (No. 19)
Jeudy: "This decision would likely come down to Jeudy versus Javon Kinlaw. I would applaud either choice."
Terrell: "Terrell would reunite with his college teammate, Trayvon Mullen, to give the Raiders two tall, long and rangy CBs to build their secondary around."

Dan Kader, SB Nation: WR Henry Ruggs III (No. 12), CB CJ Henderson (No. 19)
Ruggs: "With two first-round picks and three third-round picks, the Raiders could get creative. But in a draft featuring three elite wide receiver prospects, they could hold on to their picks and risk it. I continue to go back and forth on the order the top three receivers will come off the board."
Henderson: "The Raiders should be happy to walk away from the first day of the draft with new starters at wide receiver and cornerback. That’s what they get out of this mock draft. Henderson is a player with top-15 talent who could slide due to all the offensive tackles and wide receivers getting picked."

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: WR Henry Ruggs III (No. 12), S Xavier McKinney (No. 19)
Ruggs: "Ruggs gets classified as a speed receiver—and he is with that 4.27 40-yard-dash time—but he’s also a polished route-runner and an all-around threat. Get him the football, and beautiful things happen. And maybe you’re surprised he’s the first receiver off the board, but you shouldn’t be. NFL teams covet speed over polish."
McKinney: "With the 12th selection, the Raiders went to Alabama for a game-changing wide receiver. At No. 19 overall, general manager Mike Mayock will dip back into Nick Saban’s program to add a utility-knife defender with coverage skills who might be the answer to the tight ends in the AFC West."

Tyler Roman, NBC Sports Washington: WR Jerry Jeudy (No 12.), QB Jordan Love (No. 19)
Jeudy: "Jeudy’s route running ability is some of the best you will ever see from a college player. His separation skills are unreal and he can get open against any type of coverage. He’s a very smart player who knows how to set up his man and find the open areas in zone coverage."
Love: "Jon Gruden’s favorite QB is always his next one so I think he pulls the trigger on Derek Carr’s successor here at 19. Love had a tremendous sophomore year with 30 touchdowns and just six interceptions but fell off last year with a nation-leading 17 picks. A lot of that is contributed to a loss of playmakers and a new coaching staff though. Love has spectacular arm talent that will dazzle in the NFL with the right tutelage and players around him."