The Raiders are still in much need of drafting a top flight wide receiver. The recent addition of Michael Crabtree does nothing to change that. There are some good ones in this draft and it looks to be a pretty deep class as well. To best ensure they get their new number one receiver, taking one at number four overall would be the way to go. If they opt to go in another direction that high in the draft, there will still be some decent options later on as well.
Here are the receivers who I see showing up on the Raiders draft radar.
Amari Cooper, Alabama - Rd 1
The most established and consistently dominant receiver in this draft. He performed on the biggest stages against top level competition time and time again. He has been criticized for his size and speed. But if your biggest knock is being 6-1, people are having to dig deep to find a flaw. And he proved he has no lack of speed when he ran stride for stride with the supposedly faster Kevin White at the combine. He was given a final official time of 4.42. He is exactly what the Raiders need in a number one receiver and a bona fide top five level talent. If he is on the board when the Raiders pick, he should be the pick.
Kevin White, West Virginia - Rd 1
A lot of draft prognosticators have the Raiders taking White at fourth overall over the more developed Cooper. I think there is interest there, but only if they were to be able to move down a few spots in a trade. White has the makings of a potential star, but he is still raw and only burst onto the scene last season. This suggests he would take some time to develop. The 6-3, 210-pounder has a couple inches on Cooper which makes him a bit more of your prototypical receiver. He exhibits natural pass catching skills and makes it look easy. Add to it his official 40-time at the combine was a blazing fast 4.35 and basically what you're looking at is the complete package.
Jaelen Strong, Arizona State - Rd 2
When it comes to fighting for a ball in the air, Jaelen Strong lives up to his name. This 6-3, 215-pounder is a master of the high point using sound technique as a hands-catcher. This is what the Raiders have been trying to get from Andre Holmes the past couple seasons but he just hasn't quite lived up to their hopes. Due to Strong's penchant for attacking the ball in the air as opposed to letting it come to him, he is seen as a guy who doesn't break away from defenders. This is partially true, but it isn't for lack of speed. His 4.44 40-yard dash at the combine placed him among the top times and just .02 behind Amari Cooper. As you might expect, he had the second highest vertical (42.0). The one area which needs work is his ability to shake defenders. Luckily, that's an area that can improve with work on his technique. He already possesses the qualities that are difficult to improve at this stage.
Tyler Lockett, Kansas State - Rd 3
When watching Lockett in a game, one can't help but be amazed by how often he is open or gets behind his defender on a deep route. He gives defenders fits with his sharp route running and quickness. He can also reach his top speed in a hurry, shown in his third best 20-yard shuttle at the combine. Once he gets behind the defender, he tracks the ball well and adjusts to stay in stride. His skillset makes him a threat at any wide receiver position. His one knock is his size. At 5-10, 181 pounds, he won't physically overpower anyone; that's not his game. It's the only reason he might make it to the third round. Lockett has started every game for KSU the past three seasons. Over the past two seasons, he has 2777 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has NFL bloodlines as his father Kevin also played in the league. Adding to his value is his abilities in the return game. He is quite a nice little weapon to have.
Josh Harper, Fresno State - Rd 5
If heading into the 5th round, Josh Harper is there, adding him would give Derek Carr a familiar target in the passing game. He and Carr played together for three years at Fresno State, the final season with Harper catching 79 passes for 1011 yards and 13 touchdowns. The two are clearly comfortable with each other. Harper had a slightly better season as a senior as far as catches and yards were concerned (90 catches for 1097 yards), but it wasn't as big a jump as he would have had if Carr were still behind center. They would have instant chemistry.