Oakland Raiders depth chart projections: Offense

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May 8, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders receiver Amari Cooper (89) at rookie minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver 

Last, but not least, are the wide receivers. Once you find your quarterback, you have to provide him with the weapons to be an effective passer. Last year, the Raiders fielded an underwhelming wide receiver group, and Derek Carr still managed to have a productive year. Free agent acquisition James Jones led the team in receptions with 73 while 2013 team receptions leader Rod Streater missed most of the year with an injury.

While Jones – who the Raiders cut ties with last month – was a capable receiver, the Raiders struggled to find a quality second option for Carr on the outside. Andre Holmes led the team in receiving yards with 693, but only caught 47 passes and 4 TD’s and caught less than 50% of his targets. Brice Butler showed promise but didn’t see the field very often and only snagged 21 balls. Free agent acquisitions Kenbrell Thompkins and Vincent Brown combined for 27 receptions and Denarius Moore – who had once shown promise as a potential #1 wideout – caught only 12 passes.

So the Raiders retooled the wide receiver group in the offseason by using the 4th overall pick in the draft to select Amari Cooper, the athletic, polished and hard-working wideout out of Alabama who most experts declared was the best wideout in the draft. They also drafted Florida wideout Andre Debose, though likely for use as a kick returner, and brought in a number of undrafted rookie wideouts, including Josh Harper, Carr’s former teammate at Fresno State. The Raiders also cut ties with James Jones and Denarius Moore, and then, late in the offseason, signed former 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree (a former 10th overall pick) to a one-year deal.

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  • The complexion of the group has changed entirely with the addition of Cooper, and to a lesser extent with the addition of Crabtree. Cooper has the potential to become the next great Raider wideout with his array of physical tools, his route-running skills, hands, discipline and football IQ. Crabtree, though not the elite wideout he was thought to be when he was drafted, has been a very productive receiver over the past six seasons, compiling 347 receptions, over 4300 receiving yards, and 26 TD’s.

    The Raiders are also returning a trio of big-bodied wideouts who can stretch the field and match up physically with larger press corners on the outside: Rod Streater, Andre Holmes and Brice Butler. Streater, who was seen as the Raiders #1 wideout going into 2014, came out of nowhere in 2013 (he was undrafted in 2012) to lead the team with 60 receptions. He’s 6’3″ with great speed and leaping ability but only had a small window of time to work with Derek Carr before he was injured in the third game of the 2014 season. Andre Holmes, who is 6’4″, came to the Raiders from the Cowboys before the 2013 season and became the team’s #2 wideout last year, averaging 14.4 yards per reception on his 47 catches. Brice Butler, who is also 6’3″, was taken by the Raiders in the 7th round in 2013 and averaged 13.3 yards per catch last season.

    The Raiders are also going to give Kenbrell Thompkins another look, likely to be a backup for the slot receiver role. The 6’0″, 195 pound Thompkins caught 38 passes in a Patriots uniform before coming over to the Raiders early last season. Seth Roberts, an undrafted rookie in 2014 who impressed in training camp and spent the year on the practice squad, will have an opportunity to make his mark in training camp again this year. The 6’2″ wideout has very consistent hands and has had a full year with an NFL practice squad to develop his game.

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  • The Raiders also brought in a slew of new faces: three undrafted rookies (Josh Harper, Milton Williams and Austin Willis) and two additional free agents in return specialist Trindon Holliday and giant white guy wideout Kris Durham (listed at 6’6″) who spent last season with the Titans. These players are all on the bubble to make the final roster. Of these, Harper has the best chance to make his mark, since he has a great deal of familiarity with Derek Carr. Trindon Holliday may also be retained for his return ability due to the injury to Andre DeBose, though he is of limited value as a wide receiver, even in a reserve role.

    This receiving group may not be the best in the league right now but it’s certainly an improvement over last year or really any year in recent memory. Streater, Holmes and Butler give the Raiders those big, long bodies who can compete for jump balls and also get down the field deep. Cooper gives the Raiders the potential of an elite wideout, while Crabtree gives the Raiders a capable and productive veteran presence in the group.


    1. Amari Cooper

    2. Rod Streater

    3. Michael Crabtree

    4. Andre Holmes

    5. Brice Butler

    6. Kenbrell Thompkins

    PRACTICE SQUAD: Josh Harper, Seth Roberts

    RELEASED: Trindon Holliday, Kris Durham, Milton Williams, Austin Willis