Las Vegas Raiders: Grade and analysis of 4th-round pick John Simpson

Las Vegas Raiders, John Simpson (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Las Vegas Raiders, John Simpson (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders used their second of two fourth-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft to select Clemson offensive guard John Simpson.

The Las Vegas Raiders continued to produce a very solid 2020 NFL Draft with the section of former Clemson Tigers offensive lineman John Simpson in the fourth round. The pick was the team’s first player drafted that doesn’t play either wide receiver or defensive back.

Here’s how the selection grades out.

The Need: C+

The team entered the draft with two glaring needs and two supplementary needs. The most pressing weaknesses on the roster were seemingly remedied when Las Vegas invested five of their first six selections on receivers and players to help in the secondary.

However, the needs at outside linebacker and a quarterback prospect went unaddressed in the first four rounds.

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This does not make the Simpson pick a mistake. While the Raiders do boast a talented offensive line, several of their most prominent starters have a notable number of miles on their bodies. It is only a matter of time before the team’s protection is affected by injury or retirement.

Simpson gives the team some additional depth. He should also benefit from having time to adjust to the NFL level without the pressure of being an immediate starter.

It’s a good pick, but one can’t help but wonder how the team will fill their need for depth at linebacker or when they will add a young quarterback to the roster.

The Value: C+

John Simpson is currently rated as the 10 best guard and 188th best overall player by ESPN. He was also given a four-star rating by The Draft Network.

To be clear, its nearly impossible to accurately scout and project offensive linemen. This doesn’t feel like a reach, nor does it seem like a great prospect fell into their laps. It feels like an appropriate and average value.

The Talent: C+

Again, it’s terribly difficult to assess the skill set of an offensive guard. Most casual football fans don’t pay attention to blockers and can’t identify the good from the bad. In fact, most of us only notice guard play when a lineman is either getting a holding penalty or allowing a sack.

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That being said, there are obvious reasons to like this addition. Simpson is a legitimate 6-foot-5, 330-pound player with long arms and great strength.

Not only is he notably big and powerful (even by offensive lineman standards), but he can easily absorb contact. He also has experience playing against legitimate NFL pass rushers at Clemson.

He does lack quickness, as one may expect for a player of his size, which could limit his upside at the NFL level. He also could potentially play tackle or center if needed. Simpson is a good player that could be a help to the team down the line.

Overall Grade: C+

No one is going to be doing cartwheels at the Simpson pick. The offensive line is the football position with the least among of fanfare or attention. And guard is the least noticeable position on the line.

The fact that the team didn’t address their need at linebacker — aside from maybe Tanner Muse if he plays there — should give fans pause. However, John Simpson’s pure size and strength, in addition to his potential flexibility on the line, are certainly exciting signs.

Next. Las Vegas Raiders: Grade and analysis of third round pick Tanner Muse. dark

I give this pick a C+.