Ranking the Oakland Raiders Top Five Wide Receivers

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Nov 29, 2014; Fresno, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs wide receiver Josh Harper (3) runs with the ball after making a catch against the Hawaii Warriors in the second quarter at Bulldog Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

#5: Josh Harper

Yes. An undrafted rookie is currently Oakland’s fifth ranked wide receiver.

Former Fresno State Bulldog Josh Harper brought in 228 receptions for 2,938 yards and 29 touchdowns throughout his four-year career. Harper started in 30 of the 41 games he played in at Fresno State.

According to the Official Site for Fresno State Athletics, Harper was a first-team All-Mountain West selection, and he became just the third player in Mountain West history to have back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons. Harper currently ranks second in school history in receptions and sixth in receiving yards.

“He has a tremendous football mind,” Fresno State Head Coach Tim DeRuyter told Rana Cash of Sporting News. “Some people are smart in the classroom, but not in football. He’s both. He understands coverages and leverage.”

At 6’1”, 191 pounds Harper possesses impressive foot quickness and can turn short catches into long gains with his ability to make people miss after the catch. Harper is a reliable target over the middle, as he regularly makes catches through contact.

“Long-waisted wide receiver who is quicker than fast, said Lance Zierlein, NFL draft analyst for NFL.com. “Harper was a possession receiver at Fresno State and NFL cornerbacks will likely press him to make him win at the line of scrimmage. With work on his routes, Harper has the feet, body control and hands to get open and become a viable NFL target. His ability to make plays after the catch will improve his draft stock.”

Although Harper isn’t quite the prospect current Green Bay Packer Davante Adams was a year ago, he still has been placed in a nearly ideal situation to rapidly develop into an elite NFL receiver. Harper is reuniting with his college quarterback Derek Carr.

The potential for Harper to have success in the NFL is already substantial due to his natural athletic ability and consistent hands, but with Carr at the helm he is more than capable of turning into a starting caliber receiver in the near future.

“My first thought was, ‘Well he’s coming here,’ ” Carr told The Bee. “And as soon as I found out, we were all excited. It’s going to be nice to be reunited with him. It’ll be fun. I think he’ll be able to do some good things for us.”

In comparison to receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Brice Butler, Harper’s high ceiling is what places him above the more experienced pass catchers. Thompkins and Butler have already demonstrated their ability on the football field and have yet to prove that they can push for a starting role in the NFL.

Although there have been reports that 
Harper could be on the practice squad come the start of the 2015 season, he still is the fifth most talented receiver on the roster and at the least will be a polished gem by the start of the 2016 season.

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