Right now, Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden is rubbing his palms together, grinning from ear to ear.
Because the Silver and Black just drafted the most versatile player in the country, and he's got a new toy in the sandbox.
With the No. 80 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock selected the X-factor, Lynn Bowden Jr., out of the University of Kentucky. When I say X-factor, I mean there's nothing the former Wildcat can't do.
GM Mike Mayock said Friday the Raiders will use Bowden as a versatile running back, but during his three years at Kentucky, Bowden was listed as a wide receiver and lined up at quarterback, running back, and punt returner — whatever they needed him to do he did it, and he did it well.
The 22-year-old is an offensive weapon in all levels of the field. As a quarterback — not his designated position — Bowden threw for nearly 500 yards and three touchdowns. As a punt returner, he amassed 1,628 yards and two touchdowns, which should excite Raiders fans given the serious need at the position. Since 2018, Bowden totaled 1,528 yards and 13 touchdowns as a running back, and 1,090 receiving yards and six touchdowns as a wideout. Among all draft-eligible players, Bowden had eight rush attempts for more than 40 yards, which ranks second in the class.
There's no denying that the NFL — and many other leagues for that matter — is a copycat league. Taysom Hill's impact in New Orleans has opened a lot of eyes and not that I'm comparing Bowden to Hill, but they certainly are capable of playing a multitude of positions.
The Raiders want to make defenses question what they're doing at all times and keep them on their toes constantly, so why not draft a Swiss Army knife? Between the addition of Henry Ruggs III, Bowden, and the phenom that is Josh Jacobs, the Raiders are going to keep defenses honest and not allow them to hone in on one player at all times, which was an issue when Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller gained more recognition.
Bowden's draft profile is just as intriguing as his resume on the field. According to NFL Network analyst Lance Zierlein, the newest Raider is comparable to Randall Cobb as a wide receiver — who was a Pro Bowler in case you forgot. He's a highly competitive guy, brings a lot of grit and tenacity to the game, which Gruden loves, a slippery runner with excellent vision, and fearless.
If reading that doesn't make you a fan of Bowden, maybe his highlights will; take a look.
If I know Coach Gruden, from now until kickoff Week 1, Bowden is going to have a lot of plays to learn between now and then. The Raiders Head Coach has some special stuff cooked up for the new X-factor.
With the 80th pick overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders select running back Lynn Bowden Jr.