The Las Vegas Raiders and a highly-touted receiver have been arguably the most obvious pairing in the 2020 NFL Draft outside of Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. Not even Washington and Chase Young make nearly as much sense as the Raiders and either Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, or Henry Ruggs. But what if those three all go off the board in the top-11?
We have to consider the possibility because it is possible.
Rather than write a ton about it first, let’s evaluate the likelihood of the top-11 teams taking a wide receiver:
- Bengals: No
- Washington: No
- Lions: No
- Giants: They need it
- Dolphins: They need it
- Chargers: Not this early
- Panthers: No
- Cardinals: Maybe
- Jaguars: Probably not this early
- Browns: It’s the Browns
- Jets: Yes
The good news for the Raiders here, if you want the Raiders to draft one of the top three wideouts, is that there aren’t three teams ahead of them who seem to have that same need. I would say that it is absolutely unlikely that all three are off the board, but then there’s at least two more questions to ponder.
The first is trades.
The Giants taking Jeudy or Lamb at four would be a huge shock to use today, but Clelin Ferrell at four by Mike Mayock was a huge shock last year. Let’s say that Burrow, Young, and Jeffrey Okudah are off the board and a team wants to trade over Miami. Perhaps the Chargers want to jump the Dolphins for Tua Tagovailoa. Let’s say Miami wants to secure Tua for themselves. Or perhaps the deal is for someone else, like Isaiah Simmons or Derrick Brown or one of the top ranked offensive tackles.
Let’s backpocket the Giants for now.
The Dolphins could use a first round pick on a receiver but they have so much draft capital that I don’t expect them to trade down at all. They already have 14 picks. And it wouldn’t make much sense to take Jeudy or Lamb when they’ll get a fine receiver in the latter half of the round.
Arizona has been rumored to be linked to Jeudy and Lamb as another weapon for Kyler Murray and an heir to Larry Fitzgerald. This has been downplayed somewhat but has to be considered as a possibility and the Cardinals know that they may have the first real shot to take a receiver. They could have their pick of all three and a move like that could set off teams to start acting fast.
Jacksonville could potentially want to give Gardner Minshew more insurance than D.J. Chark, Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook, Marqise Lee, and Keelan Cole. It’s not a bad group but do they have confidence in the lot beyond Chark? Who has only had one good season as of yet, which we’ve seen Jags like Lee, Cole, Allen Robinson, and Allen Hurns have without much repeating of those efforts.
I don’t expect that and the Jags have less need to trade down since they too have two first round picks and 12 picks overall.
Cleveland has more of a trade case and Ian Rapoport says rumors are starting to build around them moving down.
Some buzz is building about the #Browns trading back and taking OT Ezra Cleveland in round 1. I wondered if it’s ever happened before where a drafted player shared the same name as his team’s city. Per @NFLResearch, it would actually be the fifth(!) time. pic.twitter.com/4ku8t1j2Sn— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 16, 2020
I would never put it past the Browns to select Jeudy, Lamb, or Ruggs, even when they have Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and a lot of needs. But all it could take is one team wanting to trade over the Raiders for Jeudy, Lamb, or Ruggs.
It may be easier to list the teams who wouldn’t have interest in one of those players right now than would.
The San Francisco 49ers at 13 are still left with a lot of unknowns after Deebo Samuel, who himself has just one season under his belt. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are at 14 and have maybe the best WR duo in the NFL, but may want to give Tompa more insurance than that while also attempting to secure a future if Chris Godwin proves too expensive. The Denver Broncos are in the same position with Courtland Sutton as the 49ers are with Samuel. They’re at 15.
And what of the Philadelphia Eagles at 21? They were so poor off at receiver in 2019, could they be compelled to use their second rounder and/or their third round compensatory pick and/or a 2021 first round pick to offer the Browns a road to trading down? The Eagles could sit back for Justin Jefferson or decide that Lamb is worth two first round picks. Who would spend time arguing with them, especially given Philly’s situation.
So what’s left in our backpocket that potentially takes all three receivers off the board before Las Vegas makes their first choice?
Let’s say that Jacksonville feels so confident by having pick 20 that they trade nine and 42 to the New York Giants for pick four. The Jaguars select Tua Tagovailoa because as much as we love Minshew, Jacksonville sees a much higher ceiling in Tua and wants to correct the mistakes made with Blake Bortles and Nick Foles and so on forever.
Then at pick eight, the Cards do what some expect them to do, picking CeeDee Lamb out of Oklahoma, reuniting him with Murray. The Giants, now at pick nine, decide they don’t want to give Daniel Jones the options of just Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, and Sterling Shepard, so they pick Jerry Jeudy out of Alabama. Now the Browns are on the clock and as Rap sheeted, they want to trade back. Which position are teams going to be trading up for after Lamb and Jeudy go off the board?
This of course sets alarm bells off in Mayock’s head as he not only sees the Jets — who sport Breshad Perriman, Quincy Enunwa, Jamison Crowder, and Josh Doctson at receiver — ahead of them, but the 49ers, Bucs, Broncos, and Eagles behind them with the buying power to skip over Vegas entirely.
Even if New York didn’t move back and/or take a receiver, all it really takes is Arizona picking Lamb or Jeudy maybe. The Jets have a clear need at the position and Cleveland could sell its pick to the highest bidder, of which there may be many for Jeudy, Lamb, or Ruggs’ services at that point.
This is not what I would call a likely scenario, but as I’m running over it, there was also nothing that made me think this would be “a huge shock.”
If the Raiders think they have to trade up from 12 for one of the top 3 WRs, should they?
This poll is closed