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Raiders add ex-Cardinals WR J.J. Nelson, DE Josh Mauro

Updated March 15, 2019 - 8:13 pm

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Raiders signed former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver J.J. Nelson on Friday, adding more speed and depth to the position.

At 5 feet 10 inches and 156 pounds, Nelson clocked a blistering 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash during the 2015 NFL scouting combine. He follows Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams as recent wide receiver acquisitions.

Of course, Nelson is far less a front-line signing.

He must earn a 53-man roster spot in the coming months. The former fifth-round pick saw minimal action on special teams in Arizona, and generally, a limited role in that department can adversely affect a bubble player’s roster candidacy.

But he does offer speed.

Nelson, who turns 27 in April, recorded 81 receptions for 1,439 yards and 10 touchdowns the past four seasons. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch, best among any NFL player with at least 80 receptions in that span. Williams, with 16.3 yards per catch, ranks sixth.

In 2018, wide receiver Martavis Bryant led the Raiders with 14.0 yards per reception.

He is an unrestricted free agent.

Brown, Williams, Seth Roberts, Nelson, Marcus Ateman, Saeed Blacknall, Keon Hatcher and Rashard Davis now form the depth chart.

Help on defense

The Raiders can hold a practice now.

They signed former New York Giants defensive end Josh Mauro on Friday. Mauro and Nelson were teammates with the Cardinals. Raiders defensive line coach Brentson Buckner has familiarity with Mauro, having coached him in Arizona.

Mauro, 28, joins Arden Key as the second defensive end under Raiders contract.

Mauro has experience at defensive tackle, too, and won’t be counted upon to bolster the Raiders’ edge rush. Rather, his impact predominately will come against the run. He has tallied three sacks in 59 career games.

On April 25, it would shock if Oakland does not draft a pass-rushing defensive lineman during the first round. The Raiders own the No. 4, 24 and 27 overall selections as well as the No. 35 pick early in the second round. These picks are subject to change, given the possibility of a trade.

More Raiders: Follow at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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