Usually, it takes at least three full seasons to properly evaluate whether an NFL team’s draft class is any good.
That won’t be the case when analyzing the Raiders’ 2020 NFL Draft class. We can already confidently say that it was a major bust.
The Raiders had seven selections in the 2020 NFL Draft. All of them were within the first 139 picks. They had multiple first-round selections along with three third-round picks and two fourth-round picks. It represented a major opportunity for the team to add an infusion of talent to a 7-9 team and become a potential playoff contender.
However, things didn’t pan out. Now, just a year and a half later, most members of that draft class aren’t even on the team anymore. And even fewer are making a legitimate impact for Las Vegas.
Below is a breakdown of the Raiders’ 2020 NFL Draft class and what they have done since coming to Las Vegas.
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Raiders 2020 NFL Draft picks
The Raiders used seven selections in the 2020 NFL Draft. They spent four picks on offense and three on defense. They focused largely on upgrading their receiving corps — two of their offensive picks were used on receivers and one was used on a hybrid receiver-slash-running-back — and their secondary.
Here’s a look at all of their selections.
|1||19||Damon Arnette||CB||Ohio State|
|3||80||Bryan Edwards||WR||South Carolina|
|4||139||Amik Robertson||CB||Louisiana Tech|
This looked like a potential-packed class in the aftermath of the draft, but in the time since then, many of the picks have quickly busted.
Ruggs was the first receiver selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, which surprised many who though CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy would come off the board first. But the Raiders loved Ruggs’ speed, so they rolled with him.
Ruggs struggled to get involved in the Raiders’ offense as a rookie, as more than a quarter of his 452 receiving yards came in one game. It looked like he was en route to a breakout 2021 campaign and was leading the NFL with 19.5 yards per catch and 469 yards in seven games.
However, Ruggs was involved in a fatal car accident just after the Raiders’ bye on Nov. 2, 2021. His Corvette rear-ended a Toyota Rav4 driven by 23-year-old Tina Tintor at 3:39 a.m. local time in Las Vegas, Nev. Ruggs was traveling 156 mph at the time of the crash, and both Tintor and her dog, Max, were killed in the crash.
Ruggs’ blood alcohol content at the time of the arrest was more than twice the legal limit. He was charged with DUI resulting in death, DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm, reckless driving resulting in death or substantial bodily harm and possession of a gun while under the influence. He is facing significant jail time and will likely never play in the NFL again.
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Arnette was viewed as a big reach when the Raiders spent the 19th pick on him during the draft. He was thought to be a second-round prospect with upside, but he had significant maturity issues coming into the league. Those quickly became an issue in Las Vegas.
The Raiders saw Arnette play in 13 games for them with seven starts during two-plus seasons in Vegas. He totaled 29 tackles and three pass defenses for the team and failed to earn a starting job going into his second season.
Arnette landed on IR after Week 4 in 2021 but on Nov. 5, 2021, a video of Arnette brandishing a gun and making death threats to an individual surfaced. The Raiders released him on Monday, Nov. 8 with Mayock citing his maturity issues as the No. 1 issue. Mayock also took the blame for whiffing on Arnette despite the red flags.
“At the time, we thought it was an acceptable risk,” Mayock said, per ESPN. “After doing more homework on Arnette than anybody we’ve done in the years I’ve been here. And obviously, we missed, and that is 100% on me.”
MORE: Why the Raiders released Damon Arnette, explained
Lynn Bowden Jr.
Bowden actually played as a run-oriented quarterback during his final season at Kentucky, but he was expected to be utilized as a Swiss-army knife at the NFL level. After all, he had 1,530 rushing yards and 1,303 receiving yards during his college days.
The Raiders selected Bowden with the goal of turning him into a running back. He had played receiver before becoming a quarterback with the Wildcats, but offensive coordinator Greg Olson saw some potential with Bowden in the RPO game.
“You see the game changing from year to year, the use of the RPOs (run-pass options) and the use of the Taysom Hills, those type of players that played the RPO-style offense in college, they become valuable,” Olson said of Bowden in early August of 2020, per Raiders.com. “We believe that he can transition and be a running back, as well as do some of those plays at the quarterback position that he did in college.”
Well, apparently, that didn’t work out. Bowden didn’t even make it to the regular season with the Raiders before they traded him and a sixth-round pick to the Dolphins for a 2021 fourth-round pick. So, they basically sold Bowden — a third-round pick — for pennies on the dollar while giving him just a few months to try a new position.
Bowden transitioned back to receiver and caught 28 passes for 211 yards as a rookie. He won’t play in 2021 after suffering a season-ending hamstring injury in late August.
Here’s a guy who has panned out for the Raiders so far. Edwards played sparingly as a rookie, seeing action on about 24 percent of the snaps. He caught 11 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown while making three starts.
In his second year, Edwards has played nearly 80 percent of the snaps and has 18 catches for 346 yards and two TDs this season. He is averaging 19.2 yards per catch and has good athletic ability on his 6-3 frame. Derek Carr has shown some late-game chemistry with Edwards, so perhaps he can continue to emerge as a long-term starter on the outside.
Edwards is the only one of the Raiders’ seven draft picks in 2020 that has both emerged as a starter and remained with the team through Week 10 of the 2021 NFL season.
Muse joins Bowden as another third-round pick that never played a snap for the Raiders. The former Clemson safety was taken with the 100th pick, and the Raiders wanted to turn him into a downhill, playmaking linebacker. He had been a great special teams player at Clemson, so that was an added bonus.
Muse struggled with toe and foot injuries as a rookie and was unable to get onto the field. He had two separate stints on IR and also landed on the COVID-19 list. He failed to make the team in 2021 and was waived among the Raiders’ final cuts.
The Seahawks scooped Muse up and he played his first NFL game in Week 8 against the Seahawks. He logged two tackles in that contest, and that comprises his entire NFL stat line to date.
Simpson was a Clemson product, like Muse, but his career has gone a bit better since he was selected nine picks after his teammate.
While Simpson started just two games as a rookie, he has started all eight games for the Raiders at left guard in place of Richie Incognito. Simpson has allowed just one sack but has committed five penalties. He ranked 60th out of 76 qualified guards in 2021, according to Pro Football Focus.
Simpson hasn’t been a bust so far, but he’s looking like just a below-average starter. That’s not too bad for a fourth-round pick though, so the Raiders won’t complain too much about him.
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Robertson was the Raiders’ final pick in 2020 and came with the 139th selection. He stood at only 5-8 but the Raiders hoped he might develop into a solid slot player.
Robertson played just 70 total snaps as a rookie, half on defense and half on special teams. He has played 134 defensive snaps in 2021, but 113 of them came in a two-game span. He has appeared in six games but largely played special teams in three of them.
Robertson didn’t play for the Raiders in either Week 7 or Week 9, so it seems that he has been benched under Rich Bisaccia. Perhaps he can rebound, but it’s not looking like he’ll be a core part of the team’s secondary moving forward.