We're three days out from the start of the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine and there's going to be a lot of coverage coming from Raiders.com; however, before the digital team arrives in Indianapolis to interview the prospects and media personalities, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah decided to hold a pre-Combine conference call addressing the National Media.
Since Mike Mayock left the broadcast booth to join Head Coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders as the General Manager, Jeremiah has assumed Mayock's former role of being NFL Network's "Draft Guy" and there are few people who do their homework quite like D.J. does. In his opinion, this is the best draft class of wide receivers in over a decade and expects at least 25 receivers to go in the first three rounds. There's vast talent across the board at the position, but at the top of the list the debate is between Alabama's Jerry Jeudy and Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb.
No matter where you look, several mock drafts have the Las Vegas Raiders selecting one of these two players at No. 12 overall and given the way draft boards are shaking out there's a good chance both are available at that point.
But who's the better player? Right now, it's a toss-up.
The better question would be, who's the better fit for Jon Gruden's complex offense?
"Wow, I mean, it's tough to answer that question because I have them touching each other on my sequence list," Jeremiah said. "They're a little bit different styles, but I think both of them would fit beautifully in that system."
Jeremiah went into further explanation, "Jerry Jeudy, it's just what do you value a little bit more? I think you could make the case for either guy. With Jeudy, you're going to get a little more separation, a little more route polish – which you could say that fits Gruden really well. I think he's primarily going to play inside. I think he's going to be a slot."
During Jeudy's three years at Alabama, the 20-year-old playmaker totaled 159 receptions, 2,742 yards, and 26 touchdowns. In his last two years on the team, Jeudy eclipsed 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. When analysts like Jeremiah talk about where he excels, the clear talking point with Jeudy is his route running, and that's something Gruden doesn't take lightly. In his system, Gruden wants his receivers to know the X, Y, and Z route trees, which can be daunting for a rookie, but given Jeudy's high IQ Jeremiah thinks he might be a better fit for the Raiders.
However, Jeremiah also made a compelling case for Lamb.
"He wins 50-50 balls, he breaks a zillion tackles – the ProFootballFocus numbers on that, I've got them floating around here somewhere, I'll have it at the combine. PFF does such a great job with that stuff, those types of stats: Forced missed tackles, broken tackles – he's way, way up there in those numbers. What he gives you after the catch is outstanding, he's a really, really good football player.
"When you look at CeeDee Lamb I think you get a little more of an outside guy who can play inside, but I think I'd like to keep him outside," he said. "You're going to get a little more physicality and run after the catch with [Lamb], so he's a little more of a contested-catch player."
The point to be made here is that whoever the Raiders decide to pick will most likely be a certified stud either way, but if Jeremiah had to choose his best fit for the Silver and Black he would lean toward Jeudy.
"If I'm looking at how does it fit with them? If you wanted a Z receiver and then maybe something that can come inside to the slot, I don't know, I guess I would lean toward Jerry Jeudy on that one for those two factors there," he said hesitantly. "I think CeeDee Lamb, I'm probably going to play him outside, but he can do a little bit of everything as well."
Following a week at the Combine, we'll see if we have a better idea of who the clear choice is.
Take a look at the top 50 prospects leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, according to NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah.