Raider combine top performers: Wide receiver

Second behind only defensive back is wide receiver among those positions in which the Raiders have long valued speed. After Cliff Branch retired, the Raiders went through several receivers with world class speed trying to replace him- Jesse Hester, Willie Gault, Raghib Ismail, James Jett among them. Here are a few more recent that have wowed scouts with their combine numbers.

Jonnie Lee Higgins and Jonathan Holland were both taken by the Raiders in the 2007 draft after Higgins had the second best 3 cone drill (6.62) and sixth in the 60 yard shuttle (11.40), and Holland had the fourth best 60 yard shuttle (11.32) as well as being among the top performers in the 40 yard dash (4.45)

The next season, along came a Spider-Arman Shields out of Richmond. He was an absolute beast at the combine; finishing among the best in every category. He had the best 60 yard shuttle (10.87) and 20 yard shuttle (3.96) to go along with the second best broad jump (10'8"), vert jump (37.5) and 3 cone (6.67) and seventh in both the 40 yard dash (4.44) and bench press (19). The Raiders would trade up to draft him in the fifth round. He was injured early on and never played a game in the NFL.

With two failed experiments in Holland and Shields and soon to be a third in Higgins, the Raiders put their sights even higher. So they drafted wide receiver and Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall pick. As if there were any question, he ran a blazing 4.3, 40-yard dash. He also had a 38.5 vertical leap (that would have been the best in the previous year's combine).

But since a 4.3 40 is just not good enough, the Raiders took the fastest receiver in the next combine Jacoby Ford who ran a 4.28 40 yard dash. That was tied third best 40 all time at the combine. The Raiders traded Kirk Morrison for the right to move up one round to get Ford.

Outside of position drills, how important do you think these drills are in measuring a prospective NFL player?

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