Las Vegas Raider GM Mike Mayock joined his former colleague Rich Eisen on the latter's namesake show Thursday to discuss everything that went into last week's virtual NFL Draft.
While Mayock has already stated the Raiders' braintrust was united in choosing Henry Ruggs III with the No. 12 overall pick, he told Eisen that Ruggs' unique speed was the main catalyst behind the decision.
"There was that group of 'the top three' wideouts that everybody wanted to talk about," Mayock told Eisen. "We loved all three of them. I felt like Jon and our staff could take advantage of the distinctive talents of all three because they were very different. At the end of the day, I think the pure speed of Henry Ruggs is kind of what changed things for us. We felt like we've been bereft of speed both vertically and horizontally, and when you get a guy like Ruggs, not only are you getting a vertical threat — the deep overs, the post routes — you're also getting those manufactured touches, the horizontal ones — the jet sweeps, the bubble screens."
"In one body, we got a potential kick returner, a gunner/jammer, [and] a guy to stretch the field vertically." GM Mike Mayock
Mayock also raved about Ruggs' diligence, saying he got some valuable insight from Ruggs' head coach at Alabama.
"When I talked to Nick Saban, he told me that [Ruggs] approaches every day like he's a walk-on," Mayock said. "His work ethic is off the charts; he was a gunner and a jammer on special teams. In one body, we got a potential kick returner, a gunner/jammer, a guy to stretch the field vertically, and I think even more important than all of that... that element of speed will make Josh Jacobs better, Darren Waller better, everything underneath better, and ultimately our whole offense better.
It's a point Coach Gruden has also made: Ruggs' ability to keep defenses honest down the field could warp coverages, opening up all sorts of opportunities in the middle of the field and at the line of scrimmage.
More bytes from Mayock:
On Lynn Bowden Jr.'s versatility
"I think the cool thing about him is he becomes what Jon calls the Joker with the ability to play running back, the slot and wide. We can line him up in the Wildcat in the red zone. We envision Lynn Bowden doing a variety of jobs for us, but primarily he'll be a running back."
For what it's worth, Bowden's embracing it.
On Damon Arnette's toughness
"What we saw was, in 35 starts at Ohio State, we thought he was the most competitive cornerback in this draft, as far as a guy who showed up every week, competed, tackled. ... He played most of this season with a cast on his arm. When Jon and I sit in a room by ourselves, and we talk about what we're trying to construct here, and we talk about competitive, tough guys who come to work every day because they love it — not just because they're getting paid for it — that's Damon Arnette.
Take a look through photos from the first draft class of the Las Vegas Raiders.