Oakland Raiders: Ranking The AFC West By Position Group – Wide Receivers

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Michael Crabtree
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Michael Crabtree /
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Oakland Raiders
DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 30: Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders /

Denver Broncos

Like the Raiders, the Denver Broncos have a pair of dominant, game-breaking wideouts in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Last season, despite having sub-par quarterback play, the duo went off for 1,000 yards each with Thomas ringing up 1,083 and Sanders chipping in 1,032. The pair also hauled in ten of the team’s twenty passing touchdowns between them.

The biggest problem with Denver’s receiving group is their depth. Or their lack of quality depth. After Sanders and Thomas, Denver’s next highest yardage total from a receiver was Jordan Norwood‘s 232 yards.

Last season, it was pretty much Thomas or Sanders – or nobody else. The problem for opposing defenses though, was that Thomas and Sanders are really, really good.

But with new OC Mike McCoy, the Broncos may be able to make better use of the rest of the receivers on their roster – Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, or an intriguing prospect in third round draft pick Carlos Henderson. Although the quality of the depth hasn’t improved, with a new OC who led a powerful offense – that rising tide may lift all boats.

The Raiders and Broncos are more or less 1A and 1B in this personnel group. The only reason the Broncos have the edge comes down to one thing – dropped passes.
Despite having superior quarterback play, Oakland’s receivers dropped 29 passes, while the Broncos had just 14 drops – only a handful of teams dropped fewer than Denver. It seems simple enough – hang on to more passes, you have the opportunity to make more plays. And Denver’s receivers did that better than Oakland’s.

Last year, the McCoy-led Chargers had six different players record thirty or more catches and more than 400 yards each. Denver had three with thirty or more receptions, and only two with more than 300 receiving yards – Sanders and Thomas.

Make no mistake about it, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch are not Philip Rivers. But if Mike McCoy can replicate the sort of offense in Denver that he did with the Chargers – an offense where there was wide distribution to a lot of different pass catchers – Denver’s passing game could improve considerably.