Heading into the NFL Draft, wide receiver is far from a need for the Las Vegas Raiders. The team began the offseason with two former Pro Bowlers out wide in Davante Adams—arguably the best in the league at the position—and Hunter Renfrow.
On top of that, the Raiders signed Jakobi Meyers to a three-year, $33 million contract in free agency, as well as Phillip Dorsett, DeAndre Carter and Cam Sims while also re-signing Keelan Cole.
With three starting-caliber receivers and a handful of quality backups, it felt like Las Vegas was done adding to the position group and they could focus their attention on other areas of the roster in the draft. However, through NFL Combine meetings and Top 30 visits, the Silver and Black have met with five different wide receivers.
One of the first wideouts the Raiders met with was Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims, per Tom Downey of Chat Sports. Mims met with the team’s brass at the combine and is projected to be a third-round pick, ranking 74th overall on NFL Mock Draft Database’s consensus big board (NMDD). Las Vegas owns the 70th pick of the draft so the wideout should be within reach.
The Sooner is a speed demon with his sub-4.4-second 40-yard-dash and is explosive after the catch, according to his scouting report from Bleacher Report. His profile is similar to Dorsett’s as both have smaller frames—Mims being 5’11” and 183 pounds while Dorsett is 5’10” and 192 pounds—and can stretch the field.
However, the former does bring more to the table after the catch as he ranked fourth among Big 12 wide receivers last season with 8.1 YAC per reception, and the latter has averaged just 3.5 YAC per catch during his NFL career.
The other big-name receiver the Raiders have met with is Zay Flowers from Boston College, who NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported had a Top 30 visit with the club. Flowers is the same type of receiver as Mims, standing at 5’9” and 182 pounds with a blazing 4.42 speed. The Eagle can win down the field after logging 15.4 yards per catch in college, and he can make plays with the ball in his hands as evidenced by his 6.8 YAC average.
However, NMDD projects Flowers to be a first-round pick and has him slated as the 24th-best player overall. That means Las Vegas would probably need to trade back from No. 7 or move up from the 38th slot if they want the Eagle to land in the desert. Either scenario seems unlikely but the team’s brass could be preparing for Flowers to slide and fall into their laps on Day 2.
While meeting with two smaller speed receivers who are good after the catch can be chalked up to a coincidence, throwing a third into the mix makes it a trend. According to Justin Mello of The Draft Network, the Raiders had a formal meeting at the combine with Tyler Scott from Cincinnati.
Scott is 5’10” and 177 pounds with 4.44-speed and averaged 16.4 yards per catch and 6.4 YAC per reception during his tenure with the Bearcats. B/R NFL Draft scout Derrick Klassen wrote that the Cincinnati product might be even faster on the field than his 40-time would suggest and has the speed to “ruin tackling angles” after the catch.
As the 77th player on NMDD’s board, the Raiders could be deciding between Scott and Mims in the third round of the draft.
So, it appears as if Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler are gearing up to draft a wide receiver who can both stretch the field and be a threat with the ball in their hands within the first two days of the draft. Besides Adams—who is just really good at everything—the Raiders don’t have a wideout who can do both, so maybe one of those three is the missing piece within the position group.
According to Walter Football, the other two receivers who have met with the Silver and Black are Xavier Hutchinson from Iowa State and South Alabama’s Jalen Wayne, both of whom are more of the possession type.
Hutchinson stands at nearly 6’2” and 203 pounds and ranked second among Big 12 wideouts with 14 contested catches last season. He’ll likely be a fourth-round pick, ranking 113th overall on NMDD’s board which puts him in Vegas’ wheelhouse for the 109th selection.
As for Wayne, he’ll likely be an undrafted free agent, holding the 385th spot for NMDD. In 2021, he excelled on contested catches with a conference-leading 13 contested grabs, however, that figure dropped to just three this past season.
Either Hutchinson or Wayne could potentially replace what the position room lost with Mack Hollins’ departure.
Long story short, don’t be surprised if the Raiders end up using one of their 12 picks on a wide receiver next week!