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
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 14: Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball after a reception against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 14, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Denver Broncos

Key Contributors: Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton

And speaking of a lack of depth…

There’s no doubt that Thomas and Sanders, when they have a competent quarterback throwing the ball their way, are among the league’s best. Unfortunately for the pair of them, they haven’t had that since Peyton Manning retired.

Under the leadership of Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, their numbers have fallen off the table.

Last year, Thomas led the team with 949 yards and five touchdowns on 83 receptions, but Sanders had just 555 yards and a pair of scores on 47 receptions. It’s a far cry from the days when Manning ran the offense and they were both good for at least 1,000 yards.

This year, they have to sit back and hope that Case Keenum can prove more competent than Siemian and Lynch. They have to sit back and hope that he looks more like the quarterback he was last year in Minnesota, and less like the quarterback he’s been throughout the rest of his career.

But, they’re going to have to do it without the third and fourth best receivers on last year’s squad – Bennie Fowler, who’s moved on to Chicago, and Cody Latimer, who’s signed on with the Giants.

Next: Stacking Up The AFC West Running Backs

What the Broncos have behind Thomas and Sanders is a whole lot of spare parts – and none of them particularly shiny. Sure, they drafted Courtland Sutton out of SMU, and he should help ease the burden a little bit. But, that still gives Denver just three viable receivers – if you give him the benefit of the doubt and pencil in Sutton as a difference maker as a rookie.

If any one of those three get hurt though, Denver is going to have a real hard time coming up with guys who can reliably catch the ball and move this offense. The lack of depth is going to be a killer.