The acquisition of former Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is an underestimated move by the Oakland Raiders. There are plenty of detractors that look at his statistics last year and assume he can’t run anymore based on a torn ACL that caused him to miss 2015.
Even if he has lost a step, he’s still more of a bigger deep threat than Michael Crabtree, whom he’ll replace in 2018. And of course, he has much better hands as Crabtree struggled with drops last year and in the past with the San Francisco 49ers.
He’s also a better red-zone threat with 18 more career TD’s in just 11 more games than Crabtree. And even without Aaron Rodgers for ten games in 2017, Nelson still hauled in more first downs (38) than Crabtree (35).
Even though Vegas oddsmakers have Crabtree with considerably more yards this season for the Ravens than Nelson with the Raiders, in a recent fan poll Raider Nation overwhelmingly picked the 32-year-old Nelson as an upgrade over the 30-year-old Crabtree. And there are reasons to believe this to be true.
Nelson is still a great route-runner with great hands and the ability to adjust to the football, making him a deep threat. And it doesn’t look like he’s lost too much if any of his speed. Remember, he came back with 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2016. In 2017, he had six TDs in the first five games before losing starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers to injury. Nelson himself made a compelling argument over his ability to play this offseason.
“If you look two years ago, the year I won NFL Comeback Player of the Year coming off my ACL, I was still productive – 1,200 yards, 14 touchdowns,” Nelson said told Silver & Black Pride over conference call. “I think we had a lot of different things going on last year that obviously affected that. I can still run. I can still catch. Football, at this level, a lot of people focus on speed, but I ran a 4.5 coming out of college so I wasn’t blazing then either. It’s different when you get helmet and shoulder pads on. I think I can do that. I can make plays.”
As an upgrade, he’ll come in and give QB Derek Carr and the offense a much-needed boost in 2018. Fired defensive backs coach Rod Woodson’s comments to the contrary are ridiculous.
Silver & Black Pride’s newest contributor BD Williams put together a fantastic film review of Jordy Nelson that illustrates what he brings to the Raiders offense.
For more proof, NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger gives us an expert look on how Nelson can still get deep and give the Raiders offense more than Crabtree did.
The reason why Nelson was cut is because the Packers are up against the salary cap with three WR’s making $10 million-plus and Jordy is the oldest one at 32 and is coming off of a down season.
Now, he’s a Raider, with all the attention on 2015 first-round pick Amari Cooper. Nelson will get his shot to shine at the expense of the No. 2 cornerbacks that will cover him. With Carr throwing to Cooper, Nelson, and tight end Jared Cook, the vertical game will be back in 2018. And the running of Marshawn Lynch, will make opposing teams pick their poison.
Editor’s note: Levi Damien contributed to this piece.