Las Vegas Raiders: 2020 Final rookie report card
By Nico Di Fede
After a disappointing 8-8 2020 season, it is finally time we can look back and truly evaluate the different aspects of the Las Vegas Raiders up to this point. There was some good, there were some bad, and the 2020 rookie class is closer to the latter.
Unlike last year’s rookie class that produced multiple starters who made a heavy impact on the direction of the team, this year’s rookie class was rather disappointing in comparison. Multiple players did not see much playing time, which means they weren’t ready, and many of the rookies that did see playing time struggled.
Let’s see how each of the first-year players faired over the course of the season.
Lynn Bowden Jr. – WR/RB
If we were grading the pick itself, and not the individual performances in this article, then the grade would be an F here. Lynn Bowden Jr. was traded to Miami Dolphins before the season started and ended up producing some for them later in the season.
The versatile rookie was intended to be used mostly as a running back according to Jon Gruden, something I disagreed with, but for the Dolphins, he was utilized as a receiver, finishing the season with 28 receptions for 211 yards.
Tanner Muse – LB
Tanner Muse played safety for the Clemson Tigers, but despite his top-end speed, lacked the coverage chops for his game to transfer to the next level at the position. Because of this, Muse was brought in to develop as a linebacker at a time where athletic hybrid safety/linebackers are all the rage.
While his coverage ability wasn’t great as a safety in college, mostly due to tightness in the hips, as a linebacker it could be where he excels if he is to successfully develop, as he would likely be covering tight ends and running backs in man.
Muse was inactive and looking for non-surgical options for a toe injury to start the season, but he eventually opted to get surgery which put him on the IR ending the entirety of his rookie year.
He reportedly struggled during training camp so the Clemson product may have a long way to go in his transition into a new position.