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NFL Draft: Well, Mike Mayock is doing it his way

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After Clelin Ferrell in 2019 and Damon Arnette in 2020, clearly the Raiders GM is going to take who he wants

NFL Combine - Day 2

A Google search of “Damon Arnette first round pick” won’t return any searches right now, except for the one or two articles that just came out after the Las Vegas Raiders selected him with the 19th overall pick in the draft. I guess in a few moments after I publish it, this article will also be about Damon Arnette as a first round pick.

The only results I saw were some posts about Arnette maybe being a good sleeper pick in Round 2. He won’t be considered a sleeper pick now that he’s off the board.

A year after Mike Mayock’s first draft, in which he selected Clelin Ferrell at fourth overall (projected mid-to-late first rounder) and then Josh Jacobs at pick 24 (not too surprising in general, but not many general managers still believe that a running back is worth a first round pick) and then Johnathan Abram, he went his own way yet again with Arnette.

Well, maybe Mayock is right about Ferrell, and we saw that Jacobs was a productive and exciting addition to the offense. It’s early in their careers, and the careers of Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette haven’t begun yet. Criticisms about Ruggs as the first receiver off of the board, and of making Arnette a top-20 pick when few saw him as a top-50 pick, are really only criticisms of perceived value and not of the players themselves.

It’s the perception that Ruggs may not be as good as CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy that makes people question Mayock’s strategy, not that they don’t think Ruggs could be good. It’s the perception that Arnette was a mid-second round pick that may draw criticism too, but a mid-second round cornerback can also become very good. A first round cornerback who was viewed as a first round cornerback can fail.

We can’t judge Mayock on his picks yet, but we can definitely say that through his first two first rounds, he definitely does not care what anybody else thinks.