Las Vegas Raiders have become the real Tiger Kings
By Alex Perl
It’s become a bit of a running joke that the Raiders are the Clemson Tigers West. After the 2020 draft, you can almost all but confirm this sentiment.
It seems Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock surely has an affinity for Clemson players. This trend started last year in his first season at the helm. With their first pick, and the fourth overall selection, Clelin Ferrell out of Clemson kicked off the team’s 2019 draft.
By round two, the Raiders had added another Clemson product in cornerback Trayvon Mullen, and by round five, slot receiver Hunter Renfrow was taken out of you guessed it, Clemson University.
When you dissect the concept here, the idea of having Clemson players on your roster is not a bad one. In fact, the Clemson Tigers have been to four college national championship games in the last five years, winning the title twice in that span.
The program has become a powerhouse over the last decade led by head coach Dabo Swinney. The long list of future NFL players, and talented recruits who have walked through those doors could span for quite some time.
So fast forward to the 2020 NFL Draft, the philosophy has not changed. In the third round at pick 100, Mayock and the Raiders added to their arsenal of tiger talent by taking S/LB Tanner Muse. The hybrid player is a special teams maestro, if you want to call anyone a “Gruden Grinder” look no further.
The Raiders would then trade up early in the fourth round and take his teammate, guard John Simpson, a bulldozer of a man who figures to be in the Raiders plans sooner rather than later.
Over the last two seasons, the Raiders have drafted a grand total of 16 players, with five of those coming by way of Clemson. It’s pretty staggering to think that over 30% of the Raiders draft picks are products from the university. But take into consideration, the contributions from all of these players, not to mention their winning pedigree, it’s not so bad having a large group of Tigers.