Over the offseason, the Oakland Raiders and head coach Jon Gruden turned heads when they hired former TV analyst Mike Mayock to be the general manager of the team. Months later, the Raiders drew criticism by selecting defensive end Clelin Ferrell fourth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Now, however, the Silver and Black are eliciting praise for this rookie class.
After 11 weeks of NFL action, the Oakland Raiders are sitting at 6-4 and are within reach of the AFC West lead. This team was expected to top out at five wins, but the rookie class that was initially viewed as questionable has helped create a playoff contender. Even without a first-round pick in Jonathan Abram on the field, this rookie class is still producing at a historical rate.
According to the NFL, these youngsters rank first among rookie classes in rushing yards (937), receptions (73), scrimmage yards (1,676), scrimmage touchdowns (14), and sacks (10).
The @Raiders' 2019 rookie class...November 20, 2019
"If you go back to the NFL Draft back in April when we were in Nashville, there were a lot of skeptics of that Raiders draft," GMFB co-host Peter Schrager said earlier in the week. "But guess what? It might be the greatest draft class that we've seen in the last 10 years."
To further his point, Schrager mentioned that fourth-round defensive end Maxx Crosby is going to be a force in the NFL for years to come after he piled up four sacks against the Cincinnati Bengals. This draft pick out of Eastern Michigan was expected to be a project based on his lack of NFL size and strength, but he currently has 6.5 sacks after 10 games.
The co-host of GMFB felt that he could make similar points about most of these players, including running back Josh Jacobs. The first-round pick out of Alabama is on the fast track to winning Offensive Rookie of the Year, and he is only one of many rookies that are producing.
Even Clelin Ferrell, who was viewed as a major disappointment after the first few games of his rookie season, was integral to the Thursday night victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. He sacked quarterback Philip Rivers 2.5 times on the night and helped bottle up a very talented defense.
The former draft analyst in Mayock may have received considerable criticism in the days following the 2019 NFL Draft, but he is now drawing praise for making such critical selections.
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