In a game where the Raiders put up 39 points and just over 500 yards of offense, there weren’t many holes exposed by the porous Denver Bronco’s defense. One area where the Raiders did struggle, was on third downs. They were 2-11. The third down failures weren’t due to short yardage situations where they failed to pick up the yards on the ground, they came from a lack of passing conversions. This is a spot they may look to upgrade in the draft.
Despite throwing two picks, Jason Campbell had a solid day. He also had plenty of time to throw the ball and the Broncos did not collect a sack. The one area that came showed up on third downs was the lack of a big time, reliable possession receiver. While Zach Miller is a great third down and redzone target and the Raiders certainly have the deep threats, they lack the big bodied receiver that can make consistent catches in traffic on short routes.
This is an area where they have stayed away from signing a free agent. Instead choosing to give their young guys a chance to grow in the offense. Next year they may look to pick-up this style of receiver in free agency. When they do draft receiver’s they almost always go for the big play speedsters. If they do decide to go for a possession type of WR, these are some of the guys they may be looking towards.
Austin Pettis, WR, Boise St: Pettis is 6’3 203 lbs and he knows how to use his body. He runs a 4.56 40, which is clearly not Raider speed, but he would have the best hands on the team from day one. The bottom line Pettis is a play maker. He has blocked a punt and thrown an extra point and most importantly time and again he just makes plays for his QB. He is currently projected to go in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Terrance Toliver, WR, LSU: Toliver is a big target with solid speed for his size. He is 6’5 and 205 lbs and has been clocked at a 4.42 40. He has a lot of big time college football experience, yet his intermediate route running has come into question, which may make him just another receiver project for the Raiders and not the possession guy they need. If they are going to draft him, they will likely have to do that with their 2nd round pick.
Ryan Whalen, WR, Stanford: Whalen certainly lacks the workout numbers that the Raiders gravitate towards and maybe any team. He is likely to be around in the late rounds or even as a free agent. This is someone the Raiders should take a look at. He is a polished route runner with great hands. In other words, he is the antithesis of the majority of the Raiders WRs.