Seth Roberts vs Cordarrelle Patterson
Perhaps this position battle should be called third receiver, but ultimately it will decide who lines up in the slot, so it amounts to basically the same thing.
The starting spots are locked up by Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. But in an increasingly passing league, three wide receiver sets are used a majority of the time, so whomever the team chooses to fill that role, will see the field a lot.
Roberts has been the team’s slot receiver the past couple seasons. In many ways, he isn’t what would be considered ideal. Most think of the slot receiver as being quick and compact. Roberts is long and lanky.
Last season Roberts saw his targets go up, but his receiving yards numbers come down. Mostly due to averaging nearly five fewer yards per catch than the previous season.
Last season Roberts was known for two things: drops and late game heroics. He had quite a few of both. He has ten touchdowns the past two seasons, the last nine of which contributed to wins.
Patterson enters the mix as a free agent signing. What he excels at is kick returns. He’s the best in the league in that role. So, even if he didn’t step into the number three receiver spot, he would still be a solid special teams contributor.
As a former first round pick, Patterson came with a great deal of expectations as a wide receiver which he never lived up to. His tremendous athleticism along with dependable hands made him an intriguing talent, while his lackluster route running was seen as teachable. Thus far, he is still explosive, but the route running has not improved.
That could be a major issue when considering Patterson for the slot job. Crisp route running is important.
Where it gets interesting is the option the Raiders have with Amari Cooper, whose route running is second to none. Bringing in Patterson for his speed on the outside and shifting Cooper into the slot could make for a dangerous trio of receivers. Much easier to exploit mismatches as well.
Derek Carr loves Roberts, so he has that going for him. Patterson will have every opportunity to find his way into Carr’s good graces as well. Being where Carr wants him to be, when he wants him to be there is first and foremost to accomplishing that.
Who wins this position battle?
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