Raiders could pass on wide receiver in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft

The Las Vegas Raiders desperately need help at wide receiver, but recent speculation indicates that they could pass on the position in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Las Vegas Raiders are looking to upgrade their wide receiver core in the offseason. And with one of the deepest receiver classes in recent memory, the 2020 NFL Draft should give them ample opportunities to do so.

With two selections in the first round and as many as five receivers expected to be drafted in the first 32 picks, it would make sense that the Raiders would address the position early on and secure a top-end prospect.

However, that might not be the case.

The Athletic’s Vic Tafur recently speculated that the Raiders could pass on drafting a wide receiver in the first round in favor of addressing the defense first. His theory is primarily based on conversations he had with general manager Mike Mayock during this week’s NFL Combine.

Mayock seemed to question the preparedness of many of the young receivers in this year’s class with what he said.

“What they’re doing, half of them are doing this (turning his head) pre-snap. They look over to the sideline and they have their own individual coach telling them what route to run. Jon Gruden’s head would explode. You better get in there and get in the huddle, and you better learn three positions, not one.”

There’s no question that wide receiver is one of the most difficult positions to project from the collegiate level to the NFL. There are so many nuances to learn in the pros and the college game is ultimately very simplified.

Mayock is looking for smart, football-savvy prospects who could learn the Raiders’ offense quickly. Take for example last year’s draft.

The Raiders waited until the fifth-round to select slot receiver, Hunter Renfrow. The Clemson product went on to haul in 49 catches for 605 yards in his rookie season and finished as one of the most productive receivers in his class.

Renfrow wasn’t the most talented receiver in last year’s class, but he was one of the most intelligent.

Moreover, Tafur believes that Mayock will instead prioritize drafting a receiver in the middle rounds of the draft given how deep the class is saying “Mayock has made no secret about the fact that he is wary of taking a receiver in the first round.”

The Raiders first pick at No. 12 overall and then pick again at No. 19. If they want a first-round receiver, there should be a few options there for the taking.

It’s still a possibility that either Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy or Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb will be available at No. 12. If not, the likes of Henry Ruggs III, Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault, and Justin Jefferson shouldn’t be too far behind.

Don’t count out players like Brandon Aiyuk, Jalen Reagor, or K.J. Hamler pushing themselves into Day 1 conversation either. This is a deep class, and the options in the first round should be aplenty.

But if the Raiders don’t make the pick in Round 1, they’ll have to either trade back into the second round or wait until the third round to address the position. Of course, free agency could determine much of what they end up doing, but it’s something to consider.

Next: Raiders: 5 late-round gems to target in the 2020 NFL Draft

Expect the Raiders to absolutely revamp the wide receiver position in the coming months, but don’t be surprised if they don’t fill the hole in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.