By LARRY VAUGHT
Maybe I was dreaming when the Las Vegas Raiders raved about all the ways they were going to use third-round draft pick Lynn Bowden in coach Jon Gruden’s offense.
Maybe I just imagined the team talking about how he could play multiple positions and how valuable he would be in the offense.
Obviously something has happened because the Raiders apparently traded him and a future sixth-round pick Saturday to the Miami Dolphins for a 2021 fourth-round draft pick.
Media reports out of Las Vegas indicate that Gruden felt Bowden, the 2019 Paul Hornung Award winner as the nation’s most versatile player, was not compatible in his offense. Remember almost as soon as Bowden was drafted that Mayock announced Bowden would move to running back permanently. Maybe he was just drinking the Big Blue Kool-Ade after seeing what Bowden did last season at UK when he moved from receiver to quarterback.
Surely no one can be surprised that Bowden might have had trouble picking up pass protection schemes in the NFL so quickly. Combine that with the Raiders having depth at running back and they decide to get what they could for him.
But consider what Mayock said in an interview just a few days ago about Bowden:
“Like I’ve said with all the rookies, let’s take a step back and try to understand what he’s trying to do. Even though he’s coming from the SEC and he’s got heavy production at two positions, we’re asking him to play a completely different position. We’re putting a lot on his plate,” Mayock said.
So if he had too much on his plate, who is to blame? Why not take something off that plate and give him a chance?
“He’s got running back plays. He’s got punt returns. We’re going to ask him to catch the ball, so we’re asking an awful lot of this young man,” Mayock said. “Any time you ask a college player to play a different position it’s called a projection and you’ve got to give them some time.
“That’s the way I feel about Lynn. Lynn has come in and done everything we’ve asked. We just have to continue to give him the time to learn to convert to a running back primarily. And he’s never been that before.”
What a crock as “time to learn” was less than a week and Bowden was shown the way out of Vegas. The good news, though, is that Miami obviously wanted him, seems to need help at receiver and no way can the Dolphins lack for sound management at the top like the Raiders do.
The Raiders and Dolphins have apparently been in constant communication lately, as this is the second trade they’ve executed in the past week. The first deal sent linebacker Raekwon McMillan to Las Vegas for a fourth-round draft pick — and Miami sent that very same fourth-rounder back to Vegas in exchange for Bowden.