Editor’s note: Insider Scott Bair will analyze each position group leading up to Raiders training camp, which starts on July 29.
The Raiders have needed receiver upgrades for years. They finally made the right additions last offseason, drafting Amari Cooper and signing Michael Crabtree as a free agent.
That pair became a solid tandem with varied strengths, accented by Seth Roberts’ clutch performance in the slot. The Raiders saw no need to mix things up.
That group melds well with quarterback Derek Carr, and continuity was chosen to enhance previous performance. The top three slots seem locked, with Andre Holms offering a deep threat as the fourth option.
Preliminary depth chart
- Amari Cooper
- Michael Crabtree
- Seth Roberts
- Andre Holmes
- Joe Hansley
- Max McCaffrey
- Johnny Holton
- K.J. Brent
- Jaydon Mickens
- Marvin Hall
- Nathan Palmer
1. Can Cooper hold on?
It’s difficult finding fault in Amari Cooper’s rookie year. He shot out the gate, exceeded 1,000 yards during the season and was only slowed by a foot injury at season’s end. The Pro Bowler is a complete receiver with one troubling stat: Per Pro Football Focus, he led the NFL with 18 dropped passes. That can’t happen again, and Cooper enters this season bigger, stronger and more confident. Drops weren’t an issue during the offseason program, but training camp will offer a longer look at his ability to secure passes.
2. Can Holmes get more involved?
Andre Holmes was clearly the No. 4 receiving option last year, diversifying his role with quality special teams coverage. His offensive snaps, however, dipped with Cooper and Crabtree on board. He was involved in just 32.8 percent of offensive snaps, and caught 14 of just 29 targets. He should continue as the No. 4 unless he has an extraordinary camp, providing injury protection on the outside if someone goes down.
3. Who is the No. 5?
There’s little drama on the receiving depth chart, without room for mobility or to unseat the top four. The Raiders carried five receivers on the 53-man roster – Rod Streater was normally a healthy scratch – and could do so again with a young kid. Return capability could help that player be active as well. Top prospects will be sorted out in camp, but Joe Hansley, Max McCaffrey and Johnny Holton stood out in the offseason program.