The Raiders had their sights set on Damon Arnette no matter what
The Las Vegas Raiders left the 2020 NFL Draft with a good haul of players. From Alabama wide receiver to Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette, general manager Mike Mayock brought in talent at much needed positions of value as the franchise starts their new beginning in Las Vegas.
In fact, Mayock had his sights set on Arnette from the start and found himself in a predicament with his second pick in the first round. Mayock knew selecting Arnette with the 19th pick was a bit of a reach for where he was valued by scouts and teams around the league.
However, the Raiders did not have another pick from the 19th pick all the way until the 80th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Mayock tried to trade down from the 19th pick to a place where he could select Arnette in a range where it would not have seemed like as much of a reach as it is pitched as at this point.
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Mayock could not find a trade partner, and instead of risking losing Arnette all together, decided to take him with the 19th pick in the draft no matter the public perception. While this writer liked the pick much more than the public, the Raiders have received a bit of scrutiny for selecting Arnette as high as they did.
“I talked with a couple of guys who’ve known and worked with Arnette over the years right before the draft, and one was adamant that the Raiders were smitten with the corner and would try and move down to position themselves to take him. Las Vegas, I’m told, did try. But a good enough offer never materialized and that put GM Mike Mayock in a weird spot” (Albert Breer via MMQB).
At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that the Raiders got the guy they wanted, even if it was a bit higher than they wanted. None of this will matter if Arnette backs it up on the field and plays to the tune of a first round pick.