Raiders quietly in receiver market as NFL draft approaches

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Raiders may have tipped their hand.

In mid-March, shortly after signing wide receiver Jordy Nelson, the team hosted Ryan Grant for a visit. The wide receiver signed with the Indianapolis Colts days later. So, the Raiders kept scouring. They hosted another free-agent wide receiver, Eric Decker, on March 20. He also left without a deal.

Their diligence reflects where the Raiders stand at receiver entering next week’s draft.

They are open.

The Raiders are expected to address one of their many defensive needs Thursday during the first round. But as early as Friday, in rounds two and three, it would not surprise to see a receiver selected. Such a move would be consistent with one of the franchise’s focal points this offseason.

The Raiders want to surround Derek Carr with more help. A better supporting cast, they believe, can help correct the quarterback’s 2017 dip in production. So far, the Raiders mostly have flipped personnel.

At wide receiver, Nelson was the only multiyear signing before Michael Crabtree and Cordarrelle Patterson were traded. Tight end Derek Carrier was signed before Clive Walford was released.

Amari Cooper, Nelson and Seth Roberts are left standing atop the wide-receiver depth chart. Dwayne Harris and Griff Whalen both signed one-year deals and offer return ability. Johnny Holton, Keon Hatcher and Isaac Whitney round out the group as holdovers.

Clearly, an adequate deep threat is missing. Injuries forced Holton into the role last season, but his skills proved too raw to be relied upon consistently, quality targets twice resulting in an interception downfield.

The Raiders could use another receiving tight end, too. Jared Cook is coming off wrist surgery and entering the final season of a two-year contract. Lee Smith and Carrier primarily have been used as blockers. Pharaoh Brown, as an undrafted rookie, blocked on 32 of his 39 offensive snaps in 2017.

It’s possible Decker, still a free agent, could re-enter the conversation after the draft.

Regardless, on the topic of providing Carr more receiving talent, plenty of work remains.

Top receivers in 2018 draft

— Calvin Ridley, Alabama: 6 feet; 189 pounds. Set to join Cooper (2015) and Julio Jones (2011) as only Alabama wide receivers taken in first round since 1970 NFL-AFL merger. Knack for separation.

— DJ Moore, Maryland: 6 feet; 200 pounds. Set single-season school record with 80 receptions in 2017. Did it with four different quarterbacks. Thick frame. Explosive after catch.

— Courtland Sutton, SMU: 6 feet, 3 inches; 218 pounds. Big-bodied possession receiver. Won’t blow lid off secondaries; ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at combine. A feel for leverage in routes. Basketball background.

— Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: 5 feet, 10 inches; 201 pounds. Elusive playmaker with ball in hands. Capable of stepping in and starting immediately as slot receiver over Roberts.

— DJ Chark, LSU: 6 feet, 3 inches; 199 pounds. Speed not a question here. Fastest combine 40 at his position (4.34 seconds). Offers dimension Raiders lack. Route tree, though, may prove limited.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

Raiders Videos
Las Vegas Stadium Livecam
Vegas Nation Mailbag 10-16-2018
Elaine Wilson and Gilbert Manzano discuss The Raiders 27-3 loss to the Seahawks in London as The Raiders enter their bye week.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To Seahawks; Cooper Out With Concussion
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken, Sports Columnist Ed Graney and sports writer Gilbert Manzano go over the Raiders loss to the Seattle Seahawks in London.
Derek Carr says the team will focus on improving – Heidi Fang
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says the team will do what's necessary to improve following its 27-3 loss in London to the Seattle Seahawks.
Gruden on the Raiders loss to the Seahawks, Cooper's injury – Heidi Fang
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden talks to media following the team's 27-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in London, England.
A look at NFL sports betting in London
With the NFL introducing England to different teams each year since 2007, Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney asked fans in London ahead of the Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks how often they flock to them to place wagers on American football.
Would the NFL be accepted abroad?
Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney takes to the streets of London, England, ahead of the Oakland Raiders facing the Seattle Seahawks to find out if the NFL is accepted, if the game is understood and what its fan base is like outside of the United States.
Vegas Nation: Gruden Recaps Loss to LA Chargers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from Alameda, Calif. as the team looks ahead to London following a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To 1-4 This Season
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over the Raiders loss to the Chargers.
Raiders coordinators rave about Lynch's running style
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther talk about Marshawn Lynch's style of running, and what he means to the team.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Defense Looks to Prevent Big Plays
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken talks about the team's renewed focus on preventing big plays from the other team's offense, as the Raiders go into Los Angeles allowing the 27th most yards per game.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Week 5
Elaine Wilson and Gilbert Manzano answer all your burning Raiders questions leading up to their week 5 match up with Chargers.
Vegas Nation: Raiders O-Line Battling Injuries
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken talks about Donald Penn being moved to the Raiders' injured reserve list, as well as other injuries on the team's offensive line.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Look Ahead to Rival L.A. Chargers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken recaps the controversial calls in Sunday's victory over the Cleveland Browns, the effect Donald Penn's injury could bring, and the reinstatement of cornerback Daryl Worley.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Win Close Game Against Browns In OT
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken, sports columnist Ed Graney and sports writer Gilbert Manzano goes over the Raiders overtime win against the Cleveland Browns.
Vegas Nation: McCrane, rookie specialists practice at Coliseum on Friday
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken talks about how the team's rookie kicker, holder and long snapper are preparing for kicking off the Coliseum dirt. Gehlken also provides an injury update ahead of the Raiders' Week 4 game against the Cleveland Browns.
Vegas Nation: Paul Guenther Speaks on New Rules
Bryan Salmond is in studio as beat writer Michael Gehlken reports from Alameda where Paul Guenther spoke out about the new roghing the passer rules on the NFL.
Raiders Stadium Construction - Sept. 27, 2018
Raiders Stadium construction video on September 27th, 2018. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Derek Carr Speaks on Hayes Torn ACL
Host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat-writer Michael Gehlken cover William Hayes's torn ACL from Sundays game, in which he suffered from trying not to land on Derek Carr.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Week 4
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Review-Journal sports writer Gilbert Manzano answer your burning questions about the Raiders and Jon Gruden.
Gruden, Carr critical of new roughing the passer rules
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wants more clarity on new roughing the passer rules, while Carr reacts to Dolphins William Hayes' injury.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Prepare for the Browns
Host Bryan Salmond discusses the Raiders and Browns seasons so far before Sundays game.
Raiders Adopt Student Resource Room At Robert Taylor Elementary School In Henderson
Former Raiders player Leo Gray and Robert Taylor Elementary School principal Kim Basham talk about the new resource room at the school on Sept. 25, 2018 in Henderson, Nevada. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Nugent Suffers Injury in Miami
Raiders reporter Michael Gehlken talks about Mike Nugent's injury in Miami and the Raiders poor turnover differential through the team's first three games.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Drop to 0-3 with Loss to the Dolphins
Bryan Salmond and Gilbert Manzano are in studio while Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Miami on the Raiders loss to the Miami Dolphins.
More information on design of Raiders' practice facility in Henderson
Officials plan to finish the Raiders' Henderson headquarters by spring 2020. The planned facility would be home to offices, training facilities and 4 1/2 football fields.
Vegas Nation: Raiders fall short in Week 1 to the Rams
Bryan Salmond and Gilbert Manzano are in studio recapping the first game of 2018 for the Oakland Raiders. Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Oakland.
Raiders BBQ
On Friday, July 20, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden hosted — and paid for — a free barbecue for Raiders fans. Gruden teamed up with the Raiders and Ricky's Sports Theater and Grill in San Leandro, Calif. as a way to show thanks and gratitude for the support of the Raider Nation. Over 500 Raiders fans showed up to the event that had music, raffles, and appearances from Raiders alumni. This was the final event before the Raiders begin their training camp next week in Napa. Chris Booker Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like