clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Two starting caliber wide receivers? Psh, who needs that? The Raiders do. Desperately

New, comments
NFL: Preseason-Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Let me take you on a journey. Back to April of the 19th year of 21st century. Way back in those days the Raiders were looked upon as having perhaps one of the best starting wide receiver duos in the league in new additions Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams.

They also added JJ Nelson and Ryan Grant to the mix as depth and things were looking pretty good for the overhauled group.

With the draft coming up in a few weeks, they could still use another weapon and they had four picks in the top 35 to work with.

With those picks, there were two wide receivers who would have been home runs in Marquis Brown and AJ Brown. There they were at pick 24 and Marquis Brown was still on the board. They went with Josh Jacobs instead and Brown went with the next pick.

They selected Johnathan Abram at pick 27 and when their pick came up at 35, AJ Brown was still there. They traded down twice to pick 40 and AJ Brown was still there. But they went with cornerback Trayvon Mullen instead. AJ Brown went at pick 51 in the second round.

It was the Brown they already had who had them pass on the other two Browns early in the draft. And they waited until the fifth round to address the position with the selection of Hunter Renfrow.

It was such a deep group, there was some question as to which fringe receiver would be sacrificed. That’s when the questions about whether Keelan Doss had played himself into a roster spot began and therefore the fuss over his release and the Raiders ultimately having to pay him 4th round pick money to lure him back.

The problem is just because the Raiders have depth doesn’t mean they have talent at the top of that depth chart.

When they first targeted Tyrell Williams, they said it was as the team’s number one receiver. They had no idea they would even be in the running for Antonio Brown at that point. Then they got him and that changed their plans. Then they lost him and that changed everything again. Only this time it left them high and dry for two wide receivers who have any business starting for the team.

Check out these numbers over the first two games:

Tyrell Williams — 151 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns

Five other receivers — 64 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns

“We have to do a better job of winning when it’s 1-on-1,” Gruden said of getting production out of the receiving corps behind Williams. “We have to do a better job of consistently winning. . . Certainly we have to get more out of Ryan Grant. We have to game plan better, we’ll start right there.”

Grant has been the other starting receiver on the team the first two weeks. He has a grand total of 14 yards receiving. He was targeted five time against the Chiefs for a total of one catch for -2 yards. That’s not a typo; he had NEGATIVE YARDS on five targets. And that’s your starter.

The other potential starter is JJ Nelson who played 8 snaps in the opener before aggravating his ankle injury and not playing last week.

Second leading wide receiver is slot man Hunter Renfrow with 6 catches for 43 yards. The only other receiver on the team with any yards is Dwayne Harris with one catch for 7 yards.

As poor as the Raiders receiving corps was last year after Amari Cooper was traded, this group may actually be worse.

When the team traded Coop midway through last season, it was because they were sitting at 1-5 and set their sights for 2019. Well, 2019 is here and unless they want to give up on this season earlier than the last, they should probably think about how they can add some talent to this receiving corps.

Maybe try to lure Devante Parker out of Miami? He would be better than anyone they’ve got behind Tyrell Williams right now.

They are looking to deal Minkah Fitzpatrick anyway. Maybe some kind of package deal? Just spitballing here. There aren’t a lot of options out there.