PFF likes one Las Vegas Raiders rookie to start in 2020
By Brad Weiss
The Las Vegas Raiders drafted some impact players this past April, but Pro Football Focus likes only one of them to start as a rookie.
During the 2020 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders added seven new players to the roster, and all of them are expected to contribute in some way as rookies. Holding two first round picks, the Raiders added an elite wide receiver, and an alpha at cornerback, as Mike Mayock continues to stack talent in the first round.
Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus did a nice job projecting the starting lineups for all 32 NFL teams, giving a quick look at the 22 players who he expects to start. For the Raiders, only one rookie is projected to crack the starting lineup out of camp, and that is the speedy wideout they took with the No. 12 overall pick.
Henry Ruggs III projects to start at WR1
No big surprise as to who Linsey picks as the rookie who will start this season, as Henry Ruggs III was not only the team’s first pick, but also fills their biggest need on offense. Last season, the Raiders struggled mightily at wide receiver due to inconsistent play, and injuries, so Ruggs can come in and be that WR1 that Derek Carr was missing last season.
Ruggs is not only an absolute burner, but he is a touchdown machine, and that should help Carr in a big way as a rookie. He runs the entire route-tree, has incredible hands, and if he is in one-on-one situations, he is going to win more times than not.
The real question will be whether or not Carr takes more shots downfield this season, as that plays to Ruggs’ strengths. The offensive line is loaded, and there is talent all over this offense, but Ruggs will have to prove to be a true WR1 if they are going to take the next step in 2020.
Other rookies to keep an eye on
Amik Robertson was an absolute steal in the fourth round, and he could seriously challenge Lamarcus Joyner as the team’s starting slot cornerback. Robertson plays the game with incredible intensity, and has the speed to dominate in pass coverage, an area Joyner struggled big time in during his first year with the Raiders.
Damon Arnette, like Ruggs, was a first round pick, and was expected to come in and start alongside Trayvon Mullen as a rookie. However, the team went out and signed Prince Amukamara as a free agent, so Arnette is going to have to outplay him this summer if he wants to crack the starting lineup as a rookie.
For the first time in a long time, the Raiders actually have depth up and down their roster, and there will be plenty of position battles this summer. This rookie class has a high ceiling, and some of them are very versatile, so even if they do not start, they are all certain to make an impact at some point as rookies.