We move on to the wide receivers as I work through the positions and players on the Raiders draft radar. Along with the player, I include the round in which the Raiders would be likely to take the player should he be available with their pick in that round.
The Raiders are deep at receiver but anything but top heavy. Reggie McKenzie took a flyer in the bottom of the fifth round last year on Juron Criner who didn't show up much in the stat sheet and often wasn't even active on game day. It turned out undrafted free agent Rod Streater was the gem this team was looking for but he and expected number one receiver, Denarius Moore were among the league leaders in drops.
With the release of career underachiever, Darrius Heyward-Bey, the team has an opening to fill with a hopeful young talent. One that could be a reliable target and perhaps compete for the number one receiver spot which this team has yet to find.
Here are those wide receivers who show up on the Raiders draft radar:
Marcus Wheaton, Oregon State - Round 3
Scouts drool over the possibilities with Wheaton if he had been in a better offense than he had at Oregon State. He is a disciplined route runner with great hands and speed to burn. He put those characteristics on display in Senior Bowl practices for Dennis Allen's North squad. Most think he is far from reached his potential as he continued to improve every season of college football, culminating in his 1,244-yard, 11 touchdown Senior season. His main drawback is his lack of size (5-11, 183 pounds). For that reason, he is unlikely to be a number one receiver but most agree his floor is higher than most receiver prospects in this draft.
Aaron Dobson, Marshall - Round 4
Wheaton wasn't the only receiver to impress during Senior Bowl practices - Aaron Dobson opened some eyes as well. He didn't have the numbers Wheaton, although Dobson does have number one receiver potential. His 6-3 frame is ideal for an NFL wide receiver. He is known for making tough catches in traffic including one of the most ridiculous circus catches in college football history -- See that catch here. The Raiders need a receiver with the size and skill set of Dobson. They also need someone to step up as the go to receiver. Dobson has the potential to provide just that.
Tavarres King, Georgia - Round 6
King doesn't have great size (6-0) but he isn't a shrimp either. He has good speed (4.47 40-yard dash) and it shows up on the field. He consistently beat SEC corners over the top and had a crazy 22.6 yards per catch average on 42 catches as a senior including 5 catches for 142 yards in the SEC Championship game against Dee Milliner and Alabama and another 3 catches for 102 yards in to help Georgia beat Nebraska in the Capitol One Bowl. This hands catcher is great at tracking the long ball and makes over-the-shoulder catches routinely.
Aaron Mellette, Elon - Round 7
The main question about Mellette was the level of competition he faced at FCS school, Elon. This 6-3, 216 pound receiver dominated the competition at his level, averaging nearly 1400 yards and 14 touchdowns per season the past three seasons. Those numbers earned him an invite to the Senior Bowl where he showed he could compete with his FBS counterparts. This former basketball player didn't pick up a football until his junior year in High School. That was a bit of a theme with the Raiders' late round picks last year - both Jack Crawford (Round 5), and Christo Bilukidi (Round 6) were late to football. Mellette is not fast but he is big and his basketball background shows up in his ability to shield off defenders from the ball. He needs some work with his routes and disengaging from defenders but those are coachable and could be worth taking a flyer.
TJ Moe, Missouri - Round 7-FA
I see TJ Moe as one of those tough, gritty, scrappy players to earns his place on an NFL roster. He is a solid 5-11, 201 pounds with the ideal slot receiver skill set. His numbers went down each of the past two seasons at Missouri but it wasn't his fault. He simply didn't see as many passes as he did in 2010 when Blaine Gabbert was still behind center. That season Moe caught 92 passes for 1045 yards. Reggie McKenzie knows about taking good receivers without the college production to match - see Rod Streater and his 19 catches as a senior in Temple's run oriented offense. Some have brought up the names Wes Welker and Danny Amendola with regard to Moe. They are all sure-handed, "white" (elephant in the room) slot receivers, which always has people drawing those comparisons. But with his great hands, route running, pedestrian 40-yard dash (4.62), and outstanding performance in all other areas, it's undeniable he has some great potential as a game-changing slot machine at the NFL level.