First Round Rookies
It is too hard to pick one so let’s just include them all. The Raiders made a lot of moves in 2018 to acquire three first-round picks, and each of these rookies will be huge contributors from the get-go. Clelin Ferrell was a dominant player at Clemson but will need to prove he has the athleticism that can beat NFL level tackles consistently. The Raiders desperately need to improve their pass rush, and Ferrell is a massive piece to that hopeful turnaround.
Josh Jacobs is in an excellent position to contend for offensive rookie of the year, and Gruden has made it known that he expects such. Jacobs is not the biggest or fastest player coming out of this draft, but he possesses a tremendous all-around skill set that makes him an ideal 3-down back. Tough runner in-between the tackles with vision is just what this offense needs and he’s an excellent check down option when Carr needs it.
Then there’s Johnathan Abrams who was one of the stars of Hard Knocks and is about as physical as it gets at the safety position.
Abrams will undoubtedly bring a tone-setting mindset to the Raider defense, but is he discipline enough to be a constant positive on the backend?
He had a very high missed tackle rate at Mississippi State and is often too quick to play downhill which leaves him at the mercy of play action. He will certainly be tested in game one as the Broncos will run a lot of pre-snap motion and play-action, so we’ll see if he’s ready. If so, he could have a significant impact on this game.
It is nonsensical to expect these three to be perfect in their first NFL start. However, with the state of the Raiders roster, Gruden needs these guys to flash early on this season.