Why Raiders weren't motivated to add later-round 2020 NFL Draft picks


The Raiders entered the 2020 NFL Draft without selections in the sixth or seventh rounds. They didn’t add any in trade, and in fact, they sacrificed fifth-round picks to move up and grab coveted players in earlier rounds.

General manager Mike Mayock was on a conference call with reporters before the sixth round even ended Saturday, inferring the Raiders were done drafting far earlier than most.

Louisiana Tech cornerback Amik Robertson was the Raiders' final pick at No. 139. Mr. Irrelevant is taken at No. 255. That’s an early call to cash in chips, but one the Raiders were confident in making, considering who they were able to draft and the extenuating circumstances surrounding this NFL offseason.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic could eliminate in-person offseason programs, with facilities shut down and teams only allowed to provide instruction through virtual meetings. Veterans will start that virtual training Monday, with the 2020 class joining the full squad in early May after a virtual rookie minicamp.

[RELATED: Raiders draft pick Robertson explains what he must prove in NFL]

All that will make it harder for undrafted rookies and those drafted lower to make the squad, so the Raiders weren’t pushing hard to increase pick volume as the draft wound down.

“We didn't have any sixth- or seventh-round picks heading into this weekend, and one of our concerns was depending on what happens with the pandemic, we think there's a pretty good chance we're not going to see our rookies in person until maybe training camp,” Mayock said. “If that's the case, you better make sure your rookies are smart, hard-working and accountable because they're going to have a shortened period of time to make the team.

“We had seven of the first 139 picks, and that was a little bit of the thought process about not trying to trade down out of 139. We had some offers to move out of there, and we wanted Robertson if he was there. The further down you get in the draft, the more concerns we had about a kid being able to compete, realistically compete to make the roster."

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It will be hard for even slightly older players to beat out anyone in this Raiders draft class for a roster spot, considering players taken in the fourth round or higher rarely are cut before the start of their rookie seasons.

The Raiders have just five slots open to undrafted free agents -- one will be taken when Keelan Doss signs his exclusive rights tender -- though that could change with some bottom-of-the-roster shuffling to make room for those players the team really likes.

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