Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
Since Oakland has quite rightly beefed up their defensive line in the first round of our staff mock draft, the second round is high time for them to address their needs on offense. Asking Derek Carr to develop without a solid set of receivers is like asking a child to grow without food. The more you give them, the bigger and stronger they get. Derek Carr needs better targets than what he had in his rookie season. Michael Crabtree is a fine start, but Carr needs a true #1 target in order for the Raider offense to be all it can be.
Jaelen Strong is, without question, a first-round talent. The reason he even slides this far is due to a broken bone in his wrist. Strong disputes the idea that he will need surgery on the wrist, but team doctors may believe otherwise. In any case, Jaelen Strong would be an absolute steal at 35th overall. People go on and on about Kevin White's size, but Jaelen Strong is roughly the same size and runs a 4.4 with a 42-inch vertical leap. The dropoff from White to Strong is somewhat less than precipitous.
Perhaps some of you watched the USC vs. Arizona State game last year wherein ASU won via last-second Hail Mary. If you didn't watch it, I included a picture of it above. Who caught that pass, over all those five-star USC defensive backs? You guessed it, Jaelen Strong did. He has made a career of bailing out his quarterbacks, making the tough catch and drawing double teams on a regular basis. He was a 2014 All-Pac 12 first teamer and far and away the best receiver in the conference. He is about as dependable a receiver as you can get. He doesn't disappear and he is a touchdown machine, having scored 17 in the last two seasons.
Strong is the sort of constantly brilliant receiver Derek Carr needs to reach the next level. Scouts have compared him to Larry Fitzgerald, who ran a 4.63 at his combine. He is so good, in fact, that I fear he won't even make it to this pick. If he does, Reggie McKenzie should select him without a moment's hesitation.