The Las Vegas Raiders stunned with their second first-round pick, drafting Ohio State’s Damon Arnette with the 19th overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Arnette is a good prospect, but most around the league had him pegged as a Day 2 selection. So when the Raiders took him midway through Round 1 fans and analysts alike were taken aback.
Quite simply it was one of the most shocking decisions of the first round.
General manager Mike Mayock, however, was clearly ecstatic about the pick. The video camera at his home caught him grinning from ear to ear after making the selection.
Then speaking to reporters afterward, he made it clear that the Raiders don’t consider Arnette to have been a reach at No. 19, whatsoever.
“What distinguishes him is, No. 1 he can run. No. 2, he’s tough as nails, and when you talk about competitors, he played most of the season with a cast on his arm,” Mayock said, via NBCSportsBayArea.com. “He can play outside, he can play inside, he can play left, he can play right. We feel like this is one of the most competitive football players in the entire draft. So, to answer your question, we don’t feel, at all, like this is a reach.”
It’s worth pointing out that the Raiders also defied conventional logic with their No. 4 overall pick last year — taking Clelin Ferrell out of Clemson in a move that was just as stunning around the league. The jury is still out on Ferrell, who didn’t exactly wow as a rookie in 2019.
Clearly, Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden are dancing to the beat of their own drum. Whether it turns out to result in beautiful music for the franchise long term remains to be seen.