While the NFL wide receiver free agency class, and players rumored to be on the trading block, has some intriguing names, the Las Vegas Raiders would be best suited to focus solely in the draft to upgrade the position for 2020.
Derek Carr needs more weapons, they say.
And it’s hard to argue this when it comes to the position that stretches the field offensively in the NFL – wide receiver.
After last year’s debacle with Antonio Brown, the Raiders were left without a true No. 1 wideout and their talented No. 2 Tyrell Williams was slowed by plantar fascitis the entire season. Rookie Hunter Renfrow, playing in the slot, was a great find but not the type of receiver who changes the course of a game. Sure and steady, yes. A game-breaker, no.
Which leaves the 2020 offseason and the new NFL year (which begins officially March 18) a time when the Raiders will be shopping to upgrade their receiving corps. And while some of the names available via trade or free agency may sound tempting, it would be in their best interest to commit to a youth movement.
You’ll hear it, again and again, this spring, the 2020 NFL Draft is the deepest receiver draft in recent memory. With college studs like CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, Tee Higgins, and Laviska Shenault Jr. in the mix, there’s plenty of talent available with more friendly rookie contracts.
Our own Moe Moton wrote about possible free agent targets for the Raiders at the position, and those players would certainly help make Las Vegas better on the outside. But why when economically you can commit to a younger player and use the savings to upgrade at linebacker, safety, and even at defensive end with a player like Robert Quinn?
Yes, players like AJ Green and Rashard Higgins may be proven commodities in one way, the cost for any veteran may be more than the Raiders should consider. Bringing in young, talented and hungry (and cheaper!) talent seems to be a better approach for a team rebuilding and making progress.
Plus, the market for wide receivers is also likely to be cost-prohibitive even for the Raiders and their significant cap space. Bidding against other teams with a need at WR could very well drive the price up to a point where Las Vegas would be better served to go for young talent.
Holding picks No. 12 and 19 in the first round, the Raiders should have their pick of a true No. 1 wideout early in the draft – barring a trade down. Even if they trade down in the First Round or top of the second, they still should be able to nab a big talent and target for Carr then.
Star power and big names excite fans but the Raiders – in need of talent – especially on defense – have plenty of opportunities to do so in the draft and it would be the more prudent move for Gruden and Mike Mayock.
What do you think? How should the Raiders upgrade at WR for 2020?