We’re a week into free agency and wide receiver still remains the Raiders’ biggest need.
The Raiders added starting linebackers Nick Kwiatkowski and Cory Littleton (their free agent prize) early, but the receiver dynamic was different as the free agent class was weak and slow moving.
Instead of jumping on someone like Robby Anderson, the best in this free agent class, the Raiders waited until the second wave of free agency and signed former Philadelphia first-round pick Nelson Agholor. He is three seasons removed from his best season, which wasn’t great at 62 catches for 768 yards, he is known for dropped passes and he is coming off a knee injury.
Thus, Agholor, who will also be a candidate to return punts, alone doesn’t significantly boost this position. However, the Raiders are not done adding at receiver.
It’s very likely they will use a first-round pick at the position. The Raiders own the No. 12 and No. 19 picks in the first round and will likely use the No. 12 on a receiver. It is a strong receiver class and Las Vegas may have its choice of receivers in the draft. Among their targets will likely be Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III (us “the thirds” need to stick together) and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb.
The probability is one of these three receivers will be a starter with Tyrell Williams and Agholor, and promising second-year slot receiver Hunter Renfrow will complete the primary receiver rotation.
If the bolded four things below happen, this will be a much improved unit:
The rookie comes in and is ready to produce.
Williams stays healthy
Agholor has a rebirth
Renfrow continues to improve as expected
The rookie will be the key.
It’s difficult for rookie receivers to come in and be a true No.1 option right away. It usually takes them a couple of years. Plus, the receiver position has a high bust rate, even for top-rated receivers.
It’s not a certainty the 2020 Raiders’ receiver group will be highly improved if they add a top draft pick into the lineup.
But with a little luck, this area will be improved immediately and in the future. At least, we likely know where the next starter is coming from.