Las Vegas Raiders
The NFL's Most Average Team
The pressure is building for this Raiders regime to finally push the team over the hump. Entering Year 4 of the Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock era, the television duo has little to show for their reign besides returning the franchise to an uninspiring level of competitiveness. Shipping off Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper for blockbuster trade hauls in 2018 was supposed to be the catalyst for a grand rebuild, but the team has not drafted nearly well enough with its surplus of picks to make up for losing those star players.
That is no criticism of making those trades in the first place. Gruden signed a 10-year contract upon arrival. It makes perfect sense that he would be comfortable sacking Year 1 in favor of picking up an abundance of long-term assets. In total, the Raiders received three first-round picks and a third-round pick in exchange for Mack, Cooper, and a second-round pick. Some Day 3 picks also got shuffled around, but nothing that swings the quality of the deals one way or another. The Raiders also saved cap space by not having to pay those players, both of whom signed major deals almost immediately after leaving town.
Now three years out from those trades, it's fair to examine how well the Raiders have done with those picks to replace the stars they gave up. Las Vegas' approach to the first round since 2018 has netted them a handful of competent starters without much star power. Left tackle Kolton Miller was horrendous early in his career but has blossomed into a competent bookend. The 2019 trio of Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs, and Johnathan Abram produced a decent run-first defensive end, a good running back, and a disaster of a strong safety. The jury is still out on the 2020 duo of Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette, but Arnette was among the league's worst cornerbacks when healthy and Ruggs was reduced to mainly being a field-stretching role player last season. In all, the Raiders could have done worse, but there is not a single first-rounder in that...