It’s safe to say the Raiders receiving corps was missing something last season. Their only productive wide receiver was Nelson Agholor, who wasn’t supposed to be as much a part of the offense as he ended up being.
Agholor was hoping to resurrect his career with the Raiders, and he did just that, stepping up for not yet developed rookie Henry Ruggs III.
This offseason Agholor signed with the Patriots while the Raiders replaced him with veteran John Brown. That was a good flip, but it still leaves the Raiders with a role to fill — the X.
That role was supposed to be filled by Tyrell Williams, who was cut after two injury-plagued seasons with the Raiders. The Raiders drafted Bryan Edwards in the third round last year in the hopes he might grow into that role, but he too was slow to develop.
Going after another X target to compete with Edwards at the position would be smart. At present they don’t really have any viable competition. With more pressing needs — namely on the defense — going after the position high in the draft is probably not in the cards. But there is some good talent after the first couple of rounds. Here are a few I see who would be solid picks for the Raiders.
Nico Collins, Michigan — Round 3
Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins runs against Ohio State during the first half at the Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019.
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Collins averaged an astounding 19.7 yards per catch his final season with the Wolverines. A two-year starter, he was twice Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, leading the team in receiving as a sophomore and leading the team in touchdown catches (7) as a junior. The 6-4, 215-pounder is at his best when in tight coverage. He perfectly times his jumps and doesn’t reach for the ball until it’s right on him which makes it difficult for a defender to disrupt the ball at the catch point.
Seth Williams, Auburn — Round 4
Auburn wide receiver Seth Williams (18) makes a one hand catch along the sidelines with Alabama defensive back Patrick Surtain II (2) defending during the first half of the Iron Bowl in Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
Iron Bowl Alabama Vs Auburn
Has a mean streak in him, playing as if he’s always being disrespected. He uses his 6-3 frame to his advantage and then finishes out plays, constantly driving for extra yards. He shot out the gates in his college career, making the SEC All-Freshman team, averaging 20.5 yards per catch with five touchdowns. He then led the Tigers in receiving in both his sophomore and junior seasons, finishing his three-year career with 2124 yards and 17 receiving touchdowns.
Jonathan Adams, Arkansas State — Round 5
Sep 12, 2020; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats defensive back AJ Parker (12) breaks up a pass intended for Arkansas State Red Wolves wide receiver Jonathan Adams Jr. (9) during a game at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
An absolutely dominant FBS receiver. The 6-2, 210-pounder played like he was the biggest guy on the field. He followed up his 62-catch junior campaign with an unstoppable senior season, catching 79 passes for 1111 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning him Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year. He doesn’t have a great route tree, but what he does, he does well and he’s absolutely worth a shot to see what he can do against NFL corners.
Trevon Grimes, Florida — Round 5
Dec 5, 2020; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Trevon Grimes (8) runs with the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Originally playing at Ohio State as a freshman, the 6-4, 220-pound former top recruit improved every year in Gainsville. He finished off his Gators career on a high note, catching nine touchdown passes as a senior and averaging a career-best 15.5 yards per catch. Grimes isn’t quick off the line and takes some time to get up to speed, but he often makes up for it with his polished pass-catching abilities and ability to make contested catches.
Mike Strachan, Charleston — Round 6
With a rare combination of size (6-5) and speed (4.5 40) Strachan is just the type of player deserving of a shot late in the draft to see if he can develop his talents. He put up over 2300 yards in two seasons as a starter, averaging nearly 19 yards per catch. His final season he put up 19 touchdowns, making second team All-American and twice setting single-season receiving yards records and catches and touchdown records his final season there.