The Oakland Raiders list of team needs goes on for days. So rather than discuss what is and what isn’t needed as the team heads towards free agency, it is better to focus on the level of importance for each position of need. The Raiders need help at virtually every position on the roster with maybe the exception of linebackers, and even there, an upgrade in the middle would be wise. But how big of a need there is determines how important that position will be during free agency and the NFL Draft.
Wide receiver is a position that is actually one of the stronger groups of players on the offensive side of the ball. The quarterback position is in desperate need of an upgrade, the running back position is mostly a question mark with the top two backs slated to hit free agency and the offensive line has been mediocre for years. Mychal Rivera leads a young group of tight ends with potential, but they too are a weak unit.
The wide receivers, on the other hand, have three talented young players with tons of potential. Denarius Moore, Rod Streater and Andre Holmes all had strong seasons for the Raiders in 2013, but none of them stood out as a reliable number one receiver option. Streater had the best year of the trio with 60 catches for 888 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Those numbers aren’t bad but they aren’t overly impressive either. Half of the games Streater played in this season resulted in three or fewer catches, two of which were games with one catch for under 10 yards. Streater was 33rd in the league in receiving yards, tied for 57th in touchdowns and 49th in the league in receptions.
Streater and the rest of the Raiders wide receivers would clearly benefit from an upgrade at the quarterback position, but I wouldn’t hold my breathe for a big time improvement in play at quarterback in 2014.
The young receivers would also benefit from having a big time receiver playing with them. Right now, Streater is the best option in the Raiders receiving corps and other teams know that, making it easier for them to slow or even stop him. If the Raiders were to land a big time wide receiver it would make a big time difference. It would make the quarterback play better while also relieving pressure on the other receivers by attracting the attention of opposing defenses.
Because of the talent already at the position, many do not see wide receiver as a big time need. But given the fact that the NFL is turning more and more into a passing league and the Raiders have not had a receiver with 1,000 yards since Randy Moss, it is long over due that the position get an upgrade. A dominant receiver in the NFL can make an entire offense play better through his play.
Just because the Raiders have some talent at wide receiver does not mean they do not need an upgrade. Sitting on two undrafted guys and a fifth round pick, none of whom have logged a standout season would be incredibly unwise. As I noted before, the Raiders options to upgrade he quarterback position this off season are limited to say the least. If there is an upgrade to the position it would not likely be a big one.
There is, however, the opportunity for a big time upgrade at the wide receiver position. If the Raiders can land a high caliber talent in the draft, and there is a LOT of wide receiver talent in the draft, it would likely mean more than any upgrade at the quarterback position in 2014.