As the Las Vegas Raiders stacked up first-round picks in the last few drafts, the team was able to build a nice young core for Jon Gruden’s first few years back in the organization.
Gruden is now entering the fourth year of his 10-year contract and he’s got to show something to Mark Davis. It’s been a long and tortuous rebuilding process and the team has to make the playoffs in the next two seasons if they don’t want Gruden’s contract to look like a complete failure.
Luckily for the Raiders, even though they lack wins to show, they have managed to build an interesting young core that’s going to be the basis for their success in the next seasons – that is, if Gruden manages to put it all together.
On that note, let’s look at 3 under-25 talents for the Raiders to build around.
#1 – Trevon Moehrig, Safety
The Raiders have been through a tough time trying to fix their secondary, and they have missed badly in the safety position. However, it looks like they’ve struck gold in the last draft by picking Moehrig in the second round.
Moehrig was the 43rd pick, but he definitely has first-round talent and he’ll be a vital player for the Raiders’ defense once he steps onto the field. He’s the kind of free safety that NFL teams have been desperately looking at recently: he can sit in MOFC deep coverage and help cornerbacks over the top. He’ll be a star sooner rather than later.
#2 – Maxx Crosby, EDGE
Crosby is not really a surprise anymore, as he’s amassed 17 sacks over his first two seasons for the Raiders and is looking like the real star of the EDGE position drafted in 2019. At least he has been much better than Clelin Ferrell, who was picked fourth overall but hasn’t lived up to expectations.
Crosby has been disruptive against most of the offensive lines he has faced during his first two seasons, and with Yannick Ngakoue taking some of the pressure off him, he’ll be looking to get back to double-digit sacks in 2021. He’s got more than enough talent to do so.
#3 – Henry Ruggs, WR
Well, yeah, Ruggs didn’t really produce what you would expect from a wide receiver picked in the top half of the first-round. But his flashes were exciting and his talent is well known from his Alabama days, so there’s not much to be concerned about.
He’s set to take the next step in his career as the number one target for Derek Carr. His speed and quickness will be a threat to opposing defenses and surely a year of experience will help him reach the level the Raiders expect him to do.