We're back in the saddle again for Day 3 of the 2020 NFL Draft and the Las Vegas Raiders wasted no time conjuring up deals.
General Manager Mike Mayock and Head Coach Jon Gruden started the day by trading the 121st and 172nd overall selections to the Detroit Lions in exchange for the 109th overall selection. The Raiders started the day with three remaining picks, but with the trade the reduced that total to two; however, we've got a long way to go still.
With the No. 109 overall pick, Mayock and Gruden did something you'll never hear me complain about, and that's add more depth to the offensive line. Clemson guard John Simpson joins former teammates Clelin Ferrell, Trayvon Mullen, Hunter Renfrow, and Tanner Muse in Las Vegas, and enters a very talented offensive line room.
Now, people are going to make jokes about the Raiders adding another Clemson Tiger to the mix, but frankly, I could care less. Whatever Mayock and Gruden see in the batch of Dabo Swinney prospects is clearly working and I'm not going to question it.
John Simpson is a 6-foot-4, 321-pound behemoth with big hands and excellent strength in the trenches. The Raiders are loaded upfront with Kolton Miller, Richie Incognito, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Trent Brown, but Simpson earned a Combine grade of 6.35, which equates to becoming a starter within his first two years. Gabe Jackson is a force on the right side and Richie Incognito recently signed an extension, but who knows what the future holds and the Raiders wanted to add more depth at a crucial position.
Simpson's dream of making it to the NFL is a monumental moment for several reasons. Growing up, his family struggled to make ends meet in a rough part of Charleston, N.C., as his mother tried to raise John and his brother Jayden.
With the 109th pick overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders select guard John Simpson.
"I'd sit in my room and cry," Simpson told Sports Illustrated in December. "I felt like it was all on me to be the man of the house."
To help out, Simpson took a job at a local restaurant in the Charleston area where he put on a white collared shirt and black tie to serve, bus tables, and run food to tables. With his father in prison, the burden of helping out around the house weighed heavily on his shoulders, but he pushed through. John became the first male in his family to graduate from college and broke a generational cycle of incarceration.
The newest member of the Raiders is a high-character man and overcame a lot at a young age. Despite a rough upbringing, his former Head Coach Dabo Swinney has the utmost respect for him.
"He's a big ol' teddy bear," Coach Swinney said. "One of my favorite kids I've ever recruited. He just has such a sweet spirit. But man, is he a good player."
Several people expect Simpson to be one of the best offensive linemen to ever come out of Clemson. Mayock and Gruden are clearly on the same page when it comes to drafting locker room guys with immense potential.