The Oakland Raiders received immense production from their 2019 rookie class, but what grade does each player deserve after year one in the NFL?
Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock struck gold in their first draft together. With two like-minded guys such as Gruden and Mayock who are true football junkies, you can assume they did their fair share of healthy evaluations prior to draft day.
With a potential offensive and defensive rookie of the year in the same draft class, it's safe to say the Raiders staff hit this one out of the park.
Hitting on an entire class of rookies is a large building block for the future, and with another draft coming up where the Raiders have large draft capital, they could be in business for another quality group.
Here's how we graded each rookie from the 2019 draft class.
Big expectations were thrown on the shoulders of Clelin Ferrell right out of the gates. Given that he was drafted as the Khalil Mack replacement, his rookie season was going to be one that was followed very closely.
Ferrell took awhile to get going as he recorded just one sack over the first nine weeks of football, but eventually turned the corner and showed some promise. Critics took notice to his sluggish start to the year, but John Gruden backed his efforts time and time again, stating several times in press conferences that he's asked Ferrell to play two different positions and that he's not worried about Ferrell's stat sheet.
Eventually the production started to trickle in as the season progressed and the outlook on Ferrell began to look much better than what many expected after a few weeks of play. Overall, Ferrell finished the year with a decent season, but after being selected inside the top five, expectations will remain sky-high entering year two.
2019 Stats: 38 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 5 passes defended, 1 forced fumble
Entering the 2019 draft, many analysts left their final mock draft without a single running back being selected in round one. Although, when it became time Jon Gruden to turn in the card for his No.24 overall selection, he thought otherwise. Selecting Josh Jacobs in the backend of the first round seemed unethical too many, but Gruden and his staff hit a home run when they picked the former Alabama running back.
The Raiders offense revolved around Jacobs early and often throughout his rookie season. Although, in week seven Jacobs suffered a shoulder injury, putting a slight damper on his physically. Jacobs grit and determination attempted to play through the injury, which he did for the most part only missing three games.
Despite the blow to his shoulder, Jacobs still became the figure that opposing defenses looked to stop. Jacobs finished the year with six games of 100 yards or more and now looks to be a potential offensive rookie of the year candidate.
2019 Stats: 242 carries, 1,150 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns, 20 receptions,166 receiving yards
Jonathan Abram's season only contained action in one game as it came to an abrupt end when he suffered a shoulder injury in the season opener.
When Abram did play in week one against the Denver Broncos he looked like a fearless defender, playing well against the run and helping the cornerbacks on the backend with help over the top. Heading into year two, a healthy Abram would pencil him into the team's starting safety as they make the move to Las Vegas. His future in the league projects as a right one, but he still needs more reps for a full rookie season evaluation.
HBO's series of Hard Knocks gave an in-depth look of many practices and off the field moments where Abram was highly featured. One thing for certain is that he's a high-strung guy that is very aggressive regardless of it being a game or practice. The 2020 season should give a better telling story of Abram's feature in the NFL.
The Oakland Raiders took cornerback Trayvon Mullen in the second round of last year's draft with expectations of him to gradually get his feet wet, playing alongside Gareon Conley, Daryl Worley and Lamarcus Joyner. Mullen saw limited action on the night of the season opener, but Denver attacked him and he had no answer back.
Later on in the season, the Raiders traded Conley to the Houston Texans in exchange for a third-round pick just before their week eight matchup. In doing so, the move elevated Mullen into the role of being one of the Raiders starting outside cornerbacks.
After gaining two months of experience, Mullen appeared to have refined his game to say the least. His technique, and ultimately his results were much different this time around versus the kind of production that was featured during his NFL debut. Down the stretch of the season you could make the argument that Mullen was among the Raiders best defender.
He finished the season off on a high note and Jon Gruden alluded to Mullen after the week 17 game that he's looking forward to seeing his future success after a full offseason within the organization.
2019 Stats: 48 tackles, 1 interception, 10 passes defended
The Raiders biggest return on investment this season was former fourth-round pick, Maxx Crosby. His rookie season started fairly slow, but Crosby started the year fresh off a broken hand from preseason play.
Once Crosby received a heavy dose of reps off the edge, he took off with it and stole the starting job. Crosby became a player that the coaching staff couldn't take off the field, because of his impact in getting after the quarterback and ability to clog holes in run support.
Crosby didn't record his first sack until week five, but in his final 11 games of the season he recorded nine sacks. The former Eastern Michigan standout is now set to receive some hype for defensive rookie of the year honors.
2019 Stats: 47 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 14 QB hits, 4 forced fumbles, 4 passes defended
Isaiah Johnson dealt with an injury plagued rookie year and didn't see much playing time. Johnson suffered a facial fracture and concussion during training camp that took just over half of the season to heal, but he still didn't see many reps after recovering.
Gruden continued to say throughout the season that he's excited to see what Johnson can do, however, he never let him loose. Johnson played in five games this season, while only playing a total of 15 defensive snaps.
There’s still many questions to be answered about Johnson and his skill set. He's a long-rangy cornerback with many things to like coming out of college, but now he enters year two with little to no experience in the NFL. 2020 will likely be a better indicator of what kind of player Johnson may develop into being.
Ahead of Foster Moreau's rookie season he was viewed as a quality college tight end, but many thought he would serve mainly in a blocking role. Apparently Gruden and Mayock thought they were getting more from their fourth-round tight end and they certainly did.
Moreau provided the Oakland offense with another dimension through the air. Moreau was utilized in a multitude of bunch formations and goal line stands with his quality blocking efforts. His ability to come up with crucial catches and find the end zone from time-to-time caught many people by surprise since he lacked offensive productivity in college.
Moreau didn't light up the stat sheet, but he did haul in five touchdowns in his rookie campaign. The Raiders new duo of pass catching tight ends featuring Darren Waller and Moreau could be a lethal attack moving forward as they both showed immense promise in 2019.
2019 Stats: 21 receptions, 174 yards, 5 touchdowns,
The former Clemson pass catcher may not look like a prototypical NFL receiver, but as the season progressed he became a vital option for Derek Carr in the passing game. To start the year, Hunter Renfrow appeared to be an after thought among the receiving core, but down the stretch his role became much more prominent within the offense.
Renfrow isn't the fastest guy, or even the biggest guy, but he's phenomenal at finding the soft spot in the defense. Throughout the last two games of the season, Renfrow had his two biggest games of his early career, posting back-to-back 100 yard games.
Carr's connection with Renfrow grew throughout the year and it showed on the field. Gruden has found his slot receiver of the future with Renfrow, so it'll be interesting to see how he's used in year two of the offense.