The Raiders got it wrong in the draft for so many years, but now that Mike Mayock is general manager, the expectations have changed.
For years, the Oakland Raiders went into the NFL Draft with plenty of holes to fill, and enough draft capital to do so. Unfortunately, the draft classes have just worked out for the organization, as they will hit on one or two players, but for the most part, the selections have not panned out.
In fact, looking at the draft classes from 2014 through 2017, there are not many players even remaining, which is a good indicator of how well the team drafted those years. Of course, the 2014 Draft netted the team Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, and Gabe Jackson, but 2015 really only brought on Amari Cooper, and 2016 Karl Joseph and DeAndre Washington.
In 2017, the team selected Gareon Conley in the first round, and he is with the Houston Texans, and Obi Melifonwu in the second, who never became anything for the Silver and Black. That entire draft class was a dud outside of Marquel Lee, who is still trying to latch on as a starter at the NFL level.
2018 saw the team take offensive tackle Kolton Miller in the first round, and he has turned into a legitimate left tackle for the Raiders. In the second round, the Raiders added P.J. Hall, who is a good piece along their defensive line, but in the third round, the Raiders selected Brandon Parker and Arden Key, two guys who have not proven they can be parts of the solution moving forward.
Of course, Oakland did hit a home run with Maurice Hurst in the fifth round, and he has potential to be a Pro Bowl player, but in 2019, Mike Mayock took over as general manager, and had the most complete draft we have seen in a long time.
Mayock had a ton of draft capital in 2019, holding three first round picks, which he used on three players who will be cornerstones of this team moving forward. Clelin Ferrell came on towards the end of his rookie season, Josh Jacobs should be the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Johnathan Abram, despite injuring his shoulder in the season opener, has that killer mentality at safety you look for.
While the first round was great, it was Mayock’s magic outside of the first round that cemented this as an elite draft class. Mayock brought in a CB1 in the second round in Trayvon Mullen, and then hit the lotto in the fourth with defensive end Maxx Crosby.
In his first season in the NFL, Crosby racked up ten sacks, and the sky seems to be the limit in terms of what he brings to the table.
Oakland held two more fourth round picks, and with them, Mayock brought in a solid tight end in Foster Moreau, and a cornerback in Isaiah Johnson who seems to have a lot of upside. In the fifth round, he once again pulled a rabbit out of his hat, selecting Hunter Renfrow from Clemson, who became an automatic slot guy as a rookie.
Overall, the 2019 class will help form the foundation of this franchise, and in 2020, instead of the fan base worrying about what they will do with more than one first rounder once again, there is nothing but optimism. The fans trust in Mayock, and based on what we saw last April, the Raiders could once again pull off a monster draft haul in a few months.
Mayock came out of nowhere to take this Raiders general manager job, and through 12-plus months, he is arguably the best addition made to the franchise. Las Vegas hold not only two first rounders in 2020, but five of the first 91 selections in the draft, so you can be sure another group of impact players are on their way.