PHOENIX – All signs point to the Raiders selecting a receiver in this year’s NFL draft.
They didn’t import one in free agency, much to fans’ chagrin. Head coach Jack Del Rio said a wideout will be targeted in this year’s draft. General manager Reggie McKenzie said an upgrade is required.
Who will the Raiders take, and when? McKenzie isn’t telling. Okay, Reggie, what type of receiver are you looking for?
“I want a really good receiver, one who can catch,” McKenzie said with a smile on Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings.
All parties would prefer an addition or two after missing in free agency, but they don’t want that desire to reflect poorly on their incumbents. The Raiders believe they have quality in-house, with veteran James Jones, young players Andre Holmes, Brice Butler and Kenbrell Thompkins and, of course, Rod Streater.
Streater back from a foot injury should be a big help. He had a team-high 888 receiving yards and had four touchdowns in 2013, but appeared in three games before a fractured foot cut last season short.
“We have some young guys in the system and we’re hopeful that those guys continue to grow,” McKenzie told SiriusXM NFL radio. “Hopefully we’ll get a healthy Rod Streater back and that will help us out. We don’t feel like it’s doom and gloom at the receiver spot, but we do know that we need to upgrade. We’re taking a positive outlook and approach to this because there are some good receivers out there coming into this draft. At some point, I’m sure that we’ll get better at that position.”
The Raiders have strong needs at edge rusher, receiver and right guard, and are looking for depth and several other spots.
One receiving addition, maybe more, could create the competition Del Rio is looking for during the offseason program and in training camp. While Del Rio hasn’t worked much with the current group, he game-planned against them twice last year.
He hopes the offense has a big-play passing element in 2015, and believes quarterback Derek Carr has the arm to get the ball downfield.
“We’ll take our shots,” Del Rio said. “I think he’s a really good deep ball thrower. Last year they didn’t have many guys who would scare you going deep, but I felt like he could get it down there.”