The Raiders 2020 first-round draft class goes down in historic fashion

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 14: Cornerback Damon Arnette #20 of the Las Vegas Raiders smiles as he walks off the field after the team's 20-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium on August 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The 2021 NFL season has not gone easily for the Las Vegas Raiders. Despite a winning record at the halfway mark, it would be difficult to deem the year successful. These victories only make up for so much of what they’ve lost. First came the departure of Jon Gruden. Now, we have the recent developments regarding Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette. As former first-round picks in 2020, their early releases from the team chalk down that draft class as historically bad for the Raiders.

Las Vegas selected Ruggs and Arnette in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. They took Ruggs with the 12th overall pick and then Arnette with the 19th. Less than two years later, both players have lost their jobs. Now some players do perform below their draft position and lose favor within an organization. But in this case, performance has little to do with the results.

Henry Ruggs & Damon Arnette

Rarely does a first-round pick fail to finish his rookie contract with the team that drafted him. In this case, the Raiders have two players meeting that fate. Henry Ruggs currently faces charges on four felony counts of driving under the influence of alcohol. The car accident he got into led to the death of Tina Tintor, a 23-year-old Vegas resident. For his transgressions, Ruggs faces a potential sentence of 40+ years in prison.

Damon Arnette’s case comes more simple but still disappoints all the same. The [now] free agent defensive back was cut after some disturbing footage surfaced on social media. He allegedly threatened another man with a gun in his possession.

Such developments taking place over a short time frame in the middle of the years put the team in an awkward position moving forward. Additionally, it outlines the first round of the 2020 draft as an abject failure for the Raiders.

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