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Raiders draft 2023: Tre Tucker adds speed and toughness to the wide receiver room

Cincinnati product is what the front office covets from a slot receiver

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 01 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice

No one was thinking slot receiver when the Las Vegas Raiders were on the clock at pick 100. Raider Nation expected the front office to sure up the secondary in a stacked cornerback class.

Instead, Dave Ziegler and Champ Kelly had different viewpoint. The Raiders selected Tre Tucker out of Cincinnati. Tucker had a career season working the slot for the Bearcats. He finished the season with 680 yards and 53 receptions, adding three touchdowns. With the exit of Alec Pierce to the Indianapolis Colts, Tucker saw his targets increase and became a steady slot receiver.

Tucker was expected to be a fifth-round pick and, thus was considered a reach. When he played with the American team, he built chemistry with Patrick Graham at the senior bowl. Graham could see his work ethic and ability to process information quickly in a practice setting. The Raiders drafted five players who participated in the Senior Bowl.

Tucker is projected at the next level working as a slot receiver. According to PFF, He played inside 96 percent of his snaps in 2023. He is an intelligent player who understands zone coverage and where to find holes to make him available to the quarterback. The perfect example is below, where he sits between the zones for a first down.

His 4.4 speed can help utilize the seam head coach Josh McDaniels covets in his offense. A slot receiver that can stretch the field allows the head coach to become more creative in running the machine. Tucker consistently does this on film. The double move below displays the ability to win inside and finishes with a touch catch in traffic.

The last play is an excellent transition. Tucker adds toughness to the Raiders. He plays beyond his size when blocking and catching passes in traffic. He has excellent hands, with a drop rate of 8 percent throughout his college career. According to PFF, in 2021, he caught 60 percent of his contested catch opportunities. While it dropped to 36% in 2022, Tucker is not scared of going over the middle and making a tough catch.

With all the good things Tucker does on the field, one of the reasons he was seen as a day three prospect is his route running. It also appears in his yards after the catch, where he is stiff when changing directions. He is easily tackled in the open field. The former Bearcat doesn’t always separate when he has one-on-ones on shorter routes. The play below is an excellent example vs. a safety from Central Florida.

Tucker can find a role on this team early, working kickoff return, but he does have a future as a slot receiver in the NFL. The Raiders might have reached for him at spot 100, but Ziegler will get the last laugh if he becomes an impact player.