2014 NFL Draft: 5 WRs the Oakland Raiders Could Target
5 WRs the Raiders Should Consider
Heading into the offseason, the Oakland Raiders have a number of needs that must be addressed between now and the start of the 2014 campaign. One of the biggest concerns is at wide receiver, a position the Raiders didn’t get the production they were looking for this past season.
The 2014 NFL Draft, however, will give the Raiders an opportunity to fix their problems in the passing game.
While much of the lack of production can be placed on the shoulders of the Raiders’ disappointing quarterbacks, it must also be noted that their receivers also deserve some of the blame. Oakland receivers totaled 15 drops on the year, which only makes the whole passing situation that much worse.
Moving forward, the Raiders need to make a considerable upgrade out wide. Especially with Jacoby Ford headed for free agency and unlikely to be re-signed, the position could use another weapon or two. That’s not to say that starters Denarius Moore and Rod Streater can’t be playmakers, but both are rather inconsistent. The Raiders need a reliable receiver who can be counted on when the game is on the line.
The Raiders also have youngsters such as Andre Holmes, Brice Butler and Juron Criner who could emerge as contributors this season. Holmes missed the first four games due to suspension, but came on strong at the end of the year. Butler was impressive in short spurts throughout his rookie 2013 season, but dropped too many balls. Criner seems full of potential, but has been hampered by injuries during his first two years in the NFL.
The supporting cast is there, but the Raiders still need a star. Maybe they can find one during the 2014 NFL Draft. Here’s a look at five options Oakland could consider when draft day rolls around.
Sammy Watkins, Clemson
While this would be an awesome addition for the Raiders at No. 5, it’s hard to imagine them spending such a high pick on a wide receiver when they have so many other needs. They have two solid receivers on the outside, and a handful of young, raw players waiting for an opportunity. Watkins would certainly bring a different dimension to their offense, but a Top 5 pick might just be too much for Oakland to spend at this point.
Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
Recruited to South Carolina to play basketball, Ellington found his way onto the football field and is now looking to make his mark in the NFL. While there are some serious concerns about his understanding of the game and lack of experience, there’s no denying Ellington’s athletic ability and knack for making plays. Using his superb athleticism, he flies around the field while picking up big yards after the catch. If he can turn out to be anything like his older brother Andre Ellington, the Raiders would love to have him.
Paul Richardson, Colorado
There will be a number of concerns about his thin frame, but there’s plenty of reason to believe Richardson can be an impact receiver at the next level. With outstanding instincts and reliable hands, the former Buffalo does a great job of stretching the field and finding openings in the coverage. If he can bulk up and stay healthy, Richardson should have no trouble using his excellent understanding of the game to be a consistent contributor for a receiver-needy team like the Raiders.
Robert Herron, Wyoming
Herron continues to fly under the radar as a Wyoming product, but the fact is that he’s an outstanding talent capable of taking the lid off of defenses. Despite his small stature, Herron excels at creating space between him and the cornerback and making plays down the field. Above all, his quickness and fakes when running routes will help him get open in the NFL. He isn’t going to revolutionize the Raiders’ passing game, but he’d be a valuable asset for whoever is under center moving forward.
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
The Raiders must be tired of inconsistency from their wide receivers. If they brought aboard Cooks, they’d be getting arguably the most consistent, reliable pass-catcher of the 2014 class. The former Beaver lead the nation in receiving yards this season, hauling in 128 passes for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns. He’s an explosive weapon who can create big yards after the catch. The reliability, however, is what makes him such an intriguing option for the Raiders.