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Silver Minings: ESPN doesn’t like Las Vegas’ receivers

The sports media company is not high on Raiders’ offensive weapons

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NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With training camp starting next week, these endless pre-season rankings are finally coming to an end (I promise).

Yet ESPN continues to trot out posts that don’t display much confidence in various aspects of the 2021 Las Vegas Raiders.

Most recently, Bill Barnwell of the outlet did a ranking on the offensive skill position players for all 32 teams. The Raiders came in at No. 22 after being No. 24 last year and No. 23 in 2019.

I find the No. 22 ranking way too low. The Raiders were ranked eighth in the NFL in total offense last year. The only major subtractions were on the offensive line and not at the skill-position spots. Tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs are upper-level players at their position and quarterback Derek Carr is more than capable.

It seems like Barnwell’s biggest beef with Las Vegas’ skill-position players stems from a lack of a true No.1 receiver and the uncertainty at the receiver position.

“The Raiders keep hanging around this spot while they try to find an identity at wide receiver. Of course, their No. 1 weapon is a true superstar in tight end Darren Waller, who followed a 1,145-yard campaign in 2019 with a 1,196-yard season. The former Ravens draftee needed 28 more targets to get those yards, but he did produce nine touchdowns after somehow racking up only three in 2019. Having this sort of advantage at tight end helps push the Raiders up past teams with better wideouts.”

Still, Waller is basically a No.1 receiver. In the end, I’d take the Raiders’ skill players over many teams listed higher on this list. Your thoughts?

In other Raiders’ links:

  • Fantasy talk: PFF has a Raiders’ fantasy preview.
  • This is funny: Check out how Raiders’ general manager Mike Mayock describes the relationship between coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr.
  • Linebackers preview: The Raiders’ website looks at the 2021 linebackers on the squad.
  • Not great: PFF ranks the NFL offensive line and the Raiders didn’t fare well.
  • Meet Damon Allen: The AP has a profile on Damon Allen, a Raiders’ summer intern coach and the brother of team legend Marcus Allen,