Like it or not, the Raiders do have a need at wide receiver this year in spite of the talent they have brought in through their previous drafts. Last year their wideouts were inconsistent. Injuries were a large factor as Louis Murphy played with an injured shoulder for most of the season and Chaz "Glassfoot" Schilens missed several games with a knee injury. Darrius Heyward-Bey had a sophomore season similar to what most people expected in his rookie year. Johnnie Lee Higgins and Nick Miller hardly saw the field, in spite of all that went on.
With all of this in mind, let's take a look at some of the wide receivers who could make their way to the dark side on draft day.
Jerrel Jernigan, Troy -- Round 2
If the Raiders are thinking wide receiver this early in the draft he's going to have to be a special player. Watching Jernigan play is like watching electricity on the field. He is so shifty, so quick, and bursting with energy. He is also a versatile player who can line up at QB and run or throw on the defense. His stock is rising as folks begin to take notice of his ball skills. He's not incredibly fast, but he makes up for it by following his blocks properly and having shifty feet and hips. He's also not afraid to test the middle of the field and he won't shy away from defenders rather than taking them one-on-one.
Titus Young, Boise State – Round 3
Al Davis said he wishes he could put number 21 on Jacoby Ford and make him the second coming of Cliff Branch. Well, if Jacoby Ford is the second Branch, then Titus Young should be considered the second coming of Jacoby Ford. While there were questions about Ford's NFL readiness, Young is rising quickly in most draft circles and some have started to speculate that he may go in the late first round. If Young is still around when the Raiders pick in the second round, don't be surprised if he dons the Silver and Black in 2011. And don't be disappointed either, Young is an amazing talent.
Austin Pettis, Boise State – Round 5
Currently, Pettis is considered a low fifth round pick, but like his teammate above, he has tremendous skill. He's more of a possession receiver than a playmaker, standing 6'3" and 209 lbs. The Raiders could look to this kid to be what they thought they had with Chaz Schilens. He's a little slower than Schilens was coming out of college, though. Still, he has a ton of playing experience and racked up 39 TD's in four productive seasons at Boise State. Both of these Boise State wide receivers ran a variety of different routes and have a great set of hands.
Aldrick Robinson, SMU – Round 7
Perhaps the best player you've never heard of. Robinson finished the year with 65 catches, 1301 yards, and 14 touchdowns. Then he turned around and ran a 4.35 at the combine. He's a three-year starter who racked up 30 career receiving touchdowns for the Mustangs. He's rough around the edges so his stock is not as high of some of his counterparts, but his natural abilities make him an interesting developmental prospect.
Ricardo Lockette, Ford Valley State (DII) – Round 7
Lockette has inconsistent hands, but he runs a low 4.3 forty, is a track star, and he's 6'2" 211 lbs. Sounds a little like a DHB project to me. Perfect for Al Davis – except it's round seven instead of pick seven. He finished the 2010 season with 23 receptions for 262 yards and caught one touchdown pass. Al should pick this cat just because I need to see if he is actually better than Darrius Heyward-Bey.
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