Raiders’ 2020 rookie class ranked as NFL’s worst by Pro Football Focus

Henry Ruggs

One year doesn’t define an NFL player’s career, nor does it define what a team’s draft class will ultimately become. Rookie seasons are often adjustment periods for most players, sans exceptional talents like Vikings pass-catcher Justin Jefferson.

Sometimes, though, there can be legitimate concerns about whether a club’s draft haul will pan out the way it was expected. Take the Las Vegas Raiders‘ 2020 class, for example.

The Raiders 2020 draft was supposed to be a group that tipped Vegas over the hump and into that competitive tier of teams that maybe wasn’t quite ready to be called a contender, but certainly better than the .500 club they finished the year as. They had two first-round picks, WR Henry Ruggs III and CB Damon Arnette, and five picks in the top 100 that included well-known names like WR Bryan Edwards and OL John Simpson.

Ruggs was dubbed a Tyreek Hill-like game-changer in the run-up to the draft, while Arnette, who was a fringe first-round pick for most of the draft process, was expected to at least be a quality starter on an improving defense. Neither first-rounder lived up to their hype, and as a result, the Raiders’ draft class was named the worst in the NFL by Pro Football Focus (based on wins above replacement).

“All seven of the Raiders’ 2020 draft picks were selected within the first four rounds, and that group collectively ranked third-to-last in WAR generated among the 32 classes,” PFF wrote. “Only one Las Vegas rookie generated positive WAR this season — wide receiver Bryan Edwards — and he barely eclipsed zero. The second of Las Vegas’ two first-round picks, cornerback Damon Arnette, had a rough rookie campaign over nine games played. He finished as the lowest-graded outside corner in coverage this season, giving up 26 catches for 405 yards on 32 targets.”

This doesn’t bode well for GM Mike Mayock, who now has four first-round picks in the last two years that he’s used on EDGE Clelin Ferrell, who ranked as the No. 23 edge defender on PFF’s end-of-year grades, RB Josh Jacobs, who ranked 18th among running backs, Ruggs, and Arnette. Whether or not that cluster of four critically important draft picks will end up being cornerstone pieces of an eventual playoff contender is anyone’s guess right now. But the early returns on 2020’s draft haul isn’t great.

Bryan Perez

Bryan is the founder of Pro Football Draft. His work has been featured on The Draft Network, NBC Sports and USA Today. Former CFL scout.

Follow him on Twitter: @BryanPerezNFL