You didn't think the Raiders were going to get through this draft without taking a Clemson Tiger, did you?
GM Mike Mayock went back to one of his favorite wells on Friday night, drafting linebacker Tanner Muse with the 100th overall pick in the third round of 2020 NFL Draft. Must played primarily safety while he was with the Tigers, but Mayock made a point to say the Raiders will move him to linebacker to capitalize on his exceptional playmaking and instincts.
Those smarts were put to the test by Mayock and Coach Gruden during the draft process, and proved to the Raiders duo that Muse could make the shift to LB.
"Tanner Muse knocked his Zoom meeting out of the park," Mayock said after the draft on Friday. "Muse played safety and we questioned him for an hour on linebacker fits and he knew every one. ... We think he's one of the smartest and most intuitive players in the draft and we expect him to learn both positions in addition to playing special teams."
One moment during Muse's career in particular stood out to Mayock:
"I said, 'You know I watched you stick your foot in the ground against Texas A&M early in the season and chase down a screen from 30 yards behind'. I said, 'At that point at least you played like a Raider'. He started laughing and loved the fact that we remembered that play."
Like his new NFL teammates Clelin Ferrell, Trayvon Mullen and Hunter Renfrow, Tanner Muse leaves behind a legacy at Clemson as a relentless winner. Five ACC championships and two national titles will do that. But his college coaches say there's even more to Muse than the rings on his fingers.
"He's incredibly smart — a fifth-year senior, graduate, great leader, captain, and is going to really make [the Raiders] a heck of a football player," Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said in a release. "In a day and age where everybody's looking for a hybrid guy, he is the ultimate hybrid guy."
He's clearly not afraid to get his hands dirty, and he has a nose for the ball. Swinney also said Muse has the potential to be an All-Pro on special teams, something his safeties coach Mickey Conn echoed.
"He's more athletic than people give him credit for," Conn said. "The Raiders are getting an unbelievable talent. He's big, he's strong, he's fast, he's physical. He's just an incredible player. He's a great leader. He can flat run. People have no idea how fast this guy is at his size. You're talking about a guy who is 230 pounds that can run a 4.3 40-yard dash."
If that weren't enough, Muse has already been dreaming of his new home stadium.
Ultimately, Mayock said it most concisely: "We think he's one of the smartest and most intuitive players in the draft and we expect him to learn both positions in addition to playing special teams."
And if you weren't already sold on the guy, here's a hype video put together by his alma mater:
With the 100th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders select linebacker Tanner Muse.