The Raiders will always be the Raiders.
If you’re a Raiders fan, you’re used to being surprised in the first round of the NFL Draft. And as is their tradition, the Raiders bucked the popular opinion and marched to a beat of their own drum.
Al Davis would have been proud.
With two guys that the majority of people believed were the 1a and 1b of wide receivers on the board, the Raiders went with the guy most considered the third best receiver.
It was surprising but not like some of the moves the Raiders have made in the past. As I told my friend, it was like a baby Raiders experience. Not what you’d expect most teams to do but also not out of nowhere.
Ruggs is a dynamic playmaker and the Raiders were severely lacking in what he brings the most of: Speed and athleticism. He’s not the guy I would have taken but there is no question about the fact that the Raiders significantly upgraded a big position of need.
And then I had the all too familiar experience of hearing Roger Goodell start to read a name, and it wasn’t the first name of ANYONE I was thinking about for that pick. Hell, it wasn’t the first name of anyone I was thinking about for the first round.
Damon Arnette was absolutely the biggest surprise of the first round.
My only real problem with the pick is that I find it very hard to believe that they couldn’t find a trade back partner. Trades were happening, teams were trading up. The fact that the Raiders could not find a trade back partner was upsetting to me.
But I like the player.
I had tabbed Arnette as a third rounder who could get taken in the second round if a team really liked him. He plays well in press coverage, which the Raiders do a lot of. He’s physical and likes to get involved in run defense. He’s a tough kid that fits the mold of what Jon Gruden likes in players.
And when you’re the “other guy” across from Jeff Okudah, you’re getting a ton of attention from other teams. Yet despite that attention, Arnette held up well playing opposite the top corner in this year’s draft.
Here’s the thing about the lack of a trade back. I understand that you never know how other teams rank players and the media knows even less. So there is always a chance your guy will get taken if you trade back. I’m just surprised that they liked Arnette SO MUCH more than any of the other corner prospects that they weren’t willing to take that risk.
Because the benefit that comes with risking losing your guy is more draft capital. More lottery tickets to try and find another Maxx Crosby or Hunter Renfrow or Foster Moreau.
The one thing that makes me feel the best about this was the reaction of Mike Mayock. While Gruden looked almost like he didn’t care, Mayock looked PUMPED. That makes me think that they indeed did like Arnette SO MUCH more than anyone else. And given the need, if that’s how you feel then you do what you gotta do to get your guy.
Let’s just hope that this was one of those times when most of the media is WAY off as opposed to one of the many times when the Raiders have been WAY off.