The 2019 NFL Draft is loaded with defensive talent, especially pass-rushers like everyone is saying. But the Oakland Raiders need more than defensive players. The offense was pretty bad in 2018 too. Quarterback Derek Carr’s cast was far from the one he had in 2016 when he led the Raiders’ top ten offense.
The one steady presence he had last season was tight end Jared Cook, the team’s lone Pro Bowler. Carr needs more explosive weapons as Cook was the only weapon with any speed Carr had to throw to. So the Raiders are looking to put more speed around Carr.
“When you look at 32 teams in this league and there aren’t 32 starting quarterbacks, yet we have one of them,” Mayock said Thursday during Senior Bowl Week. “Derek [Carr] is a starting quarterback in the NFL. He can make every throw. We have to do a better job of protecting him and giving him weapons. He played with rookie tackles last year. We need to get more speed on offense, we need to be more dynamic.
“Derek Carr, at this point, is kind of the least of our problems.”
Some of the draft’s top receiver talents have been mocked for the Raiders with one of their three first round picks. Players like Marquise Brown of Oklahoma and DK Metcalf of Ole’ Miss.
It seems inevitable the Raiders will add a receiving weapon or two in this draft and they may have unearthed a few while coaching the Senior Bowl this past week too. Gruden and his staff aren’t hiding who they like, putting Raiders stickers on their helmets during Saturday’s Senior Bowl.
Ohio State WR Terr McLaurin had a big 1st day of Senior Bowl practice. Fastest max speed of any player here and it showed on a couple 9 routes. He was a special teams’ ace at OSU too! Mid-round pick who should have a long NFL career. pic.twitter.com/XY7P7Zqpdh— Todd McShay (@McShay13) January 23, 2019
Terry McLaurin of Ohio State, impressed Gruden right away with his speed. There was literally no one that could run with him in practice as he blew by defensive backs. He ended up with the fastest max speed of all the players over there. And in the game, he had four catches for 53 yards including a 25-yarder in traffic on a flea-flicker.
The North brought out the Flea flicker!— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 26, 2019
: @seniorbowlonly on NFL Network pic.twitter.com/n3NES7FEzn
Andy Isabella got himself a couple stickers in the game. He came on in practices and made some plays in the game. He had seven catches for 74 yards that included a 19-yard touchdown on a bubble-screen.
Way to finish the TD, @UMassFootball's @AndyIsabella5!— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 26, 2019
The North takes a 17-12 lead in the 3rd!
: @seniorbowl only on NFL Network! pic.twitter.com/QriNL1wQ84
Isabella reportedly had a hand-timed 4.26 40-yard dash during a training session with former mercurial receiver Randy Moss at The Applied Science and Performance Institute in Florida. If you question the legitimacy there, look no further than his high school days. He was a national track champion with an electronic time of 6.72 yards over 60 meters. To let you know how fast that is, there are world class sprinters at that distance that run 6.65.
Keelan Doss is not quite as fast as McLaurin or Isabella but Doss is pretty fast himself. The 6-3, 209-pounder is more known for his route-running, hands and ability to go up and get one. The Alameda County native put up big numbers at small school UC Davis which is South of Sacramento. In four seasons for the Aggies, Doss had 321 catches for 4,069 yards and 29 TDs. Just in 2017 and 2018, he had 233 receptions for 2,833 yards and 16 scores.
With all the attention on the defense in this draft, Gruden has a chance to take care of his defense and add some much-needed weapons to his offense. These are some talented receivers that aren’t very high on draft boards that he coached in the Senior Bowl. So at least one of those guys should have a Raiders sticker on his helmet after the 2019 NFL Draft.