The Las Vegas Raiders agreed to terms earlier this week with top draft choice Henry Ruggs III, and on Saturday he made it official by signing a contract along with the other six players the Silver and Black selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
In addition to Ruggs, the speedy wide receiver from Alabama, the Raiders signed cornerback Damon Arnette of Ohio State, versatile running back Lynn Bowden Jr. of Kentucky, wide receiver Bryan Edwards of South Carolina, linebacker Tanner Muse of Clemson, guard John Simpson also of Clemson and cornerback Amik Robertson of Louisiana Tech.
It is the Raiders’ second draft class overseen by General Manager Mike Mayock, obviously with input from Coach Jon Gruden, and owner Mark Davis revealed earlier this week that he was directly involved with the selection of Ruggs.
“Official NOW ITS TIME TO WORK‼️ #RaiderNation,” Ruggs posted on Instagram.
The signings came a day after the NFL and the NFLPA reached an agreement on health and player safety rules adapted to the Coronavirus pandemic that will allow training camps to open as scheduled this week.
The rookies and free agents will be the first players to report to the Raiders’ new, state-of-the-art headquarters in Henderson, Nevada, after moving from Oakland. The Raiders have never held training camp outside California in their 60-year history.
The Raiders drafted Ruggs with the 12th overall pick and followed with Arnette seven spots later in the first round.
Arnette posted in a series of Tweets on Twitter: “Big day, it’s official Raider gang. Show ’em what it’s all about. A million dollars can’t change me cus hard times made me. But I’m forever grateful for all this.”
In round three, the Silver and Black went with Bowden at No. 80 overall, followed by Edwards one pick later and Muse at No. 100 with a choice acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots.
The last two picks came in the fourth round, Simpson at No. 109 after a trade with the Detroit Lions, and finally Robertson with the 139th pick, which was acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers through the Patriots.
Tweeted Robertson: “It’s impossible not to be motivated to player for the Raiders.”
The Raiders believe this draft class can rival the 2019 group, which included defensive end Clelin Ferrell (No. 4 overall) of Clemson, running back Josh Jacobs (No. 24) of Alabama and safety Johnathan Abram (No. 27) of Mississippi State in the first round.
After that big early haul, the Silver and Black went for cornerback Trayvon Mullen (No. 40) in the second round, and defensive end Maxx Crosby (No. 106) of Eastern Michigan, cornerback Isaiah Johnson (No. 129) of Houston and tight end Foster Moreau (No. 137) of LSU in round four.
Finishing things off was wide receiver Hunter Renfrow (No. 149) of Clemson in the fifth round and defensive end Quinton Bell (No. 230) in the seventh and final round.
All but one made contributions from good to great during the 2019 season, as Bell was the only one who did not make the final roster. He was signed to the practice squad, but released in October and is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The performance of the Class of 2019 should give the new crew even more motivation.
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