The Raiders scheduled a video conference call with Lynn Bowden Jr. during the pre-NFL draft process, and the versatile Kentucky playmaker was shocked to see so many people on the line.
He took that as a sign that he could soon be wearing silver and black.
"When I had the Zoom call, every coach on the staff was on it," Bowden said. "I knew it was the right fit for me. Coach [Jon] Gruden shot it straight and said he liked me. That's when I knew how real their interest was."
Gruden wasn't blowing smoke. Interest was real, and the Raiders pounced on the opportunity to draft Bowden with the No. 80 overall pick Friday night.
Bowden was part of an early Raiders run on skill players in this draft, with Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs added at No. 12 and South Carolina's Bryan Edwards coming on right after Bowden at No. 81.
Bowden's skill set is as diverse as any, with him piling up stats as a running back and a receiver. He even took over at quarterback for the Wildcats down the stretch.
General manager Mike Mayock said Friday night that Bowden will start as a running back but will play multiple positions if he masters the first one well.
"I'm not set on one position. I just want to win games and championships," Bowden said. "I'll go wherever Coach Gruden wants me to go. He said he wants to do a lot of things with me and I'm ready to get on board."
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Hybrid players are en vogue these days, especially with Taysom Hill's success with the New Orleans Saints. Bowden gets that comparison a lot and doesn't mind it one bit. He can do a bit of everything, including an occasional pass as a zone-read quarterback.
"There are some guys who do a bunch of different things and [Hill is] one they always compare me to," Bowden said. "I'm happy about that. I feel like I'm going to wake the world up. It's only a matter of time."
Bowden was primarily a receiver in 2018, when he caught 67 passes. He was a running quarterback down the stretch last year and led the nation in all-purpose yards, and was a first-team All-American in the athlete category.
He wasn't worried that his time at quarterback would hurt his draft stock and was ready to go back to school if it did. It clearly didn't, and Bowden ended up a Raider in the third round.
He was able to showcase great versatility – he's also a punt returner – while continuing to hone all of the different positions he might be asked to play. Compartmentalizing apparently isn't tough. Mayock said he aced his Raiders interview at the combine, able to repeat and apply offensive concepts using Gruden's verbiage. Since then he has been working to improve his skills and be ready for whatever his new coach dreams up.
"I've been back in the lab even since the last game of the season," Bowden said. "I was never really out of it, and I have been working on technique as a receiver and everywhere else. I'm always trying to get better."
How third-round pick Lynn Bowden Jr. will be used in Raiders' offense originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area