The Las Vegas Raiders continued to address the wide receiver position Friday in drafting Kentucky WR Lynn Bowden No. 80 overall in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The selection of Bowden followed the Raiders' choice of Alabama WR Henry Ruggs with the 12th overall choice on Thursday.
Bowden electrified the Wildcats offense last season in early October, when injuries forced the UK coaching staff to move the receiver to quarterback.
Having not played quarterback since high school, Bowden stepped into the role and led the Southeastern Conference in rushing, the first quarterback to do so since Cam Newton of Auburn. Bowden rushed for 1,468 yards total, 1,369 of them over eight starts at quarterback. In his last full season at receiver, 2018, he led the team with 67 catches for 745 yards.
Bowden brings rare run-after-catch skills and was reputed as one of the toughest players on the UK squad. He figures to add the most immediate value in an NFL offense that feeds him the ball on shorter, high-percentage routes, and scouts believe he projects most effectively from the slot position. That figures to complement Ruggs especially well, as Ruggs should provide a blistering-fast deep threat on the outside with the 4.27 speed that led all NFL Scouting Combine participants.
He's also an accomplished return specialist, particularly as a kickoff returner. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah ranked Bowden the No. 81 overall player in the draft, and NFL Network's Lance Zierlein compared Bowden to former UK and Green Bay Packers star Randall Cobb.
The Raiders followed the Bowden selection with yet another receiver, taking South Carolina's Bryan Edwards. Las Vegas also added Clemson safety Tanner Muse with the 100th overall selection.