On Day 2 of the 2020 Draft, both Lynn Bowden Jnr and Devin Duvernay received the phone call they were waiting for. The third prospect mentioned in my list of WRs to look out for had to wait until Saturday.
Let’s see where they will be padding up when pre-season comes around.
Bowden Jnr was selected by Las Vegas with the 80th pick of the Draft. I had mocked Bowden to another receiver-needy team, Carolina. With the selection of the hybrid receiver from Kentucky, Las Vegas are now well stacked at the position.
In 2019, the Raiders thought they had solved their WR problems in the shape of Antonio Brown. In the end, they had more WR problems in the shape of Antonio Brown. Last year, they were reliant on rookie Hunter Renfrow and some savvy use of TEs in the passing game. Renfrow ranked #54 amongst NFL receivers in 2019, but they were lacking depth and relied on him heavily. This year, the Raiders are well placed to have a range of weapons.
Bowden Jnr was the second of three receivers picked by Vegas. They were expected to take a wideout with their first pick, but the player chosen was something of a shock. Henry Ruggs III will add devastating speed on the outside. Bowden Jnr adds something a little different. He’ll be effective in the slot and on rushing plays. In that regard, he may lighten the load of RB Josh Jacobs. Jacobs, also a rookie in 2019, led the team in carries. Bowden can lighten his load and make defences think twice when he lines up on the field.
2020 Draft: competition for places
Raiders drafted Bryan Edwards out of South Carolina with pick #81 (right after Bowden Jnr), and brought in Nelson Agholor in free agency. There will be some stiff competition for the former Wildcat in the WR room. In the end, his ability to contribute to the run game should get him some reps in his rookie year.
Derek Carr must be delighted with Mike Mayock’s work in the 2020 Draft. He only threw to wide receivers 145 times last year, the third lowest in the NFL. This year, expect that to change.
Josh Jacobs has reason to be thankful, too. His RB2 last year Jalen Richard only carried the ball just 39 times, averaging 3.7 YPA. Bowden Jnr should provide significant rushing yards in his first year in the NFL.
If players could “win” the Draft, then Devin Duvernay has won it. I initially mocked him to the 49ers, but he has found the perfect home in Maryland. Duvernay was taken by the Baltimore Ravens with the 92nd pick in the 2020 Draft. Baltimore has its eyes firmly on winning a Superbowl with Lamar Jackson at QB. Although Hollywood Brown had a promising start to his rookie year in 2019, a lack of support led to his card being marked. Cornerbacks paid close attention to Brown on the outside, and injuries halted his progress. The Ravens used the dual threat of Jackson, running back Mark Ingram and their TEs to good effect.
Something new in the offence
Rivals in the AFC North and beyond will have spent time this summer coming to terms with how to deal with the Ravens. One way in which John Harbaugh can shock opponents next season is to use his receivers more often.
In 2019, the Ravens’ TEs led the team in receiving yards (1,522). Baltimore’s WRs combined for just 1,419. Free agency was spent concentrating on strengthening the defence, and so offence was a priority in the Draft. Duvernay is a powerful runner that will initially be used as a slot receiver. This should take some attention away from Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews.
Devin Duvernay had to wait until Round 3 before he heard his name called. However, the wait was worth it. He is going to one of the most exciting franchises in the NFL right now, and can contribute straight away. He may well be a Superbowl winner-in-waiting.
NFL franchises played it safe this year. The coronavirus lockdown meant that many small-school prospects fell further than they may have done otherwise. Gandy-Golden had to wait until Saturday to find out where he would be playing in the NFL.
Gandy-Golden was selected 142nd overall by the Washington Redskins in the 2020 Draft. This is great value for a franchise that waited until Day 3 to address the WR position. At 6′ 4″ and 220 lbs, he will beef up the Washington WR corps. He has a great ability to hold off defenders and get significant yards after the catch. Gandy-Golden will pair up nicely with deep threat receiver Terry McLaurin. The ‘skins became reliant on McLaurin, taken in the 3rd Round of last year’s Draft. He managed an impressive 919 receiving yards in his rookie year.
Gandy-Golden ranked highly at Liberty in 2019. His best moments came when receiving passes of 10 yards or more, but he will most likely be used as a possession receiver at the next level.
2020 Draft: Help for Haskins
The addition of the big bodied Liberty man will be music to the ears of QB Dwayne Haskins Jnr. Haskins threw for just 1,365 yards in 9 starts in his rookie year. His performances did pick up towards the end of the season, though. Washington will be hoping Haskins takes the step up in his second year in the league. Adding Gandy-Golden and Washington receiver/back Antonio Gibson (66th overall) has given Haskins more weapons. An improved supporting cast should help him hold off competition from Kyle Allen for his starting spot.
Gandy-Golden was a 3rd Round talent that ended up sliding into Day 3 as a result of circumstance. The depth of this year’s WR Draft class and the lockdown both played their part. The Redskins got a steal here. They got impressive production out of McLaurin as a rookie last time out. Time will tell if they can do the same with AGG.
Tom Scott @downthemannyrd