Through 10 games this season, the Oakland Raiders are 2-8 with the No. 22 total offense in the NFL. And of course, quarterback Derek Carr gets the blame for that just like he got the credit when he was an NFL MVP candidate and the Raiders went to the playoffs behind a top-10 offense in 2016. Owner Mark Davis thinks he knows the reason why; he has no playmakers at receiver.
“Derek’s taking a lot of shit right now,” Davis said in an interview with ESPN. ”He is the franchise quarterback right now. He doesn’t have Amari Cooper. He lost [Martavis] Bryant to a knee injury today. Guys have been getting hurt. Who’s he throwing to? Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts, which are good guys. But they’re not putting the fear of God in anybody. The tight end [Jared Cook] is playing his ass off.”
The Raiders also don’t protect Carr the way they did when he finished third in NFL MVP voting. Trading Cooper is huge because he is the big-play receiver that scared opposing defenses for the Raiders in the past. Deep threats make offenses go with the big plays they make and the way they open up the running game and other receivers as a result.
Obviously, it became all about the future for the Raiders once superstar edge-rusher Khalil Mack and receiver Amari Cooper were traded. Those trades gave brought in three first round picks for a total of five 1st-round picks in the next two years, three of them coming next year. And from what I saw Friday night when Oklahoma played West Virginia, receiver Marquise Brown should be one of them.
Brown had an incredible night, catching 11 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns that should have been three if not for a facemask the refs didn’t call on a 65-yarder.
Brown showed his route-running skills on his first touchdown that came from 25 yards out. He showed his blazing speed on the deep ball he took 65 yards. Then after showing his speed to separate on a crossing route, he showed his run-after-the-catch skills to take a short pass 45 yards for a score.
He also has excellent hands and can line up in the slot so he has every skill you need to succeed at the next level. His cousin — Pittsburgh Steelers wide out Antonio Brown, has taught him well, making him a polished, NFL-ready product.
The Raiders have the toughest schedule left of the top-3 teams in the 2019 NFL Draft right now. If they finish with the No. 1 overall pick, edge-rusher Nick Bosa should be the guy. After that, the Raiders must take Brown with one of those 1st-round picks if he’s available when they pick — which could come late in the first round. Many projected him to go at the top of the second round but his stock is up after Friday night.