Oakland Raiders: Stacking up the wide receivers in the AFC West

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Amari Cooper
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Amari Cooper /
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Oakland Raiders
GREEN BAY, WI – NOVEMBER 9: Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball against the Chicago Bears defense at Lambeau Field on November 9, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bears 55-14. (Photo Tom Lynn /Getty Images) /

Oakland Raiders:

Key Contributors: Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, Ryan Switzer, Martavis Bryant, Marcell Ateman

Simply because of the depth and the multitude of options an offensive mind like Gruden can scheme to best utilize the skill sets and talents of his receivers, Oakland gets the nod as the division’s second best unit.

There’s no getting around the fact that Nelson is 33 years old and is coming off a down year. You see it in every article written. But, that down year, was in large part, had more to do with Brett Hundley being under center for the Packers last year, than anything. When Aaron Rodgers was throwing the ball, Nelson was as steady and reliable as ever.

Besides, did being on the wrong side of that 30-barrier stop guys like Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, or Randy Moss from putting up better than solid seasons? No.

In Nelson, Carr is getting a very precise, detail-oriented route runner with very reliable hands. As dynamic as Crabtree could be, truth be told, he left a lot of balls on the turf. Nelson doesn’t have that problem – and hopefully, it’s something that rubs off on Cooper, who has his own issue hauling in passes.

In Cooper, we’re hoping to see more of the Cooper we saw in his first two seasons. Dynamic. Electric. The only difference we want to see is fewer passes hitting the turf. Cooper has the skill set to be an elite number one receiver. And in Gruden’s offense, he’s going to have every possible chance to shine.

Martavis Bryant is the big, physical, down the field threat. He’s explosive in open space and can stretch the field – which will help take a lot of attention off of Cooper and Nelson, allowing them to make plays. Or, they key on Cooper and/or Nelson, and allow Bryant to make plays.

Oakland Raiders
ARLINGTON, TX – NOVEMBER 30: Ryan Switzer #10 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for a 83-yard touchdown punt return against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on November 30, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Assuming Bryant manages to avoid Roger Goodell’s brand of “justice,” he’s going to be a key component to unlocking the real potention of Oakland’s passing game.

In Switzer, they’re getting a burner. A guy who can go zero to sixty in the blink of an eye. He impressed Gruden during the early offseason work, leading the head coach to call him a “force in the slot.” You would have to believe that if he continues being a force in the slot during training camp, we’ve seen the last of Seth Roberts in a Raiders uniform.

And, it’s hard to know what to expect from this year’s seventh-round pick, Marcell Ateman. He’s a big, strong receiver with terrific body control. He’ll provide Carr with a big, solid red zone target. Though he might not contribute in a big way this year, being able to learn under Gruden, Cooper, and Nelson will only help his development.