With the offseason still fresh for the Oakland Raiders, there isn’t much for the team to do these days, but they’ve been keeping busy, nonetheless. The team has signed several players to reserve/futures deals. Some of these names spent time on the practice squad in 2019 and others are brand new players. Not every player that was on the Raiders’ practice squad looks like they’re going to return in 2020, though.
According to Howard Balzer, the team has opted not to renew the expiring contracts of running back James Butler, linebacker Te’von Coney or wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El.
All three players spent time with the Raiders in training camp and bounced on and off the team’s practice squad. Any of the three could still find a place with the Raiders for the offseason, but it seems likely the team has seen enough.
Raiders to Target Robby Anderson?
It’s well documented the Raiders have struggled greatly at wide receiver since 2018. Antonio Brown was supposed to fix that problem, but that blew up in the team’s face. They now have another offseason to figure things out. New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson was linked to the Raiders in many trade rumors during the season and now that he’s set to hit free agency, it seems like the team could still be interested in acquiring him.
“I could see Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock offering a free agent a contract in line with what Williams is making and moving on from Williams if the free agent accepts, but keeping him if they don’t sign someone,” wrote The Athletic’s Vic Tafur.
“And it just so happens that there is a receiver on the market that the Raiders really like. Robby Anderson, 26, had 52 catches for 779 yards for the Jets last season. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound receiver had his best season in 2017, with 63 catches for 941 yards and seven touchdowns. The offensive coordinator for the Jets that year was John Morton, who is currently a senior offensive assistant under Gruden.”
Anderson came on strong towards the end of the 2019 season and would be an improvement over most of what the Raiders currently have. The jury is still out on Tyrell Williams and he could be gone after just one season. Even if the team keeps him, adding a talented player like Anderson couldn’t hurt.
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Raiders Looking to 2020 NFL Draft for WR Help?
Regardless of what the Raiders do in free agency, there’s a very good chance the team drafts a wide receiver early in the 2020 NFL Draft. There doesn’t seem to be a game-changer like Antonio Brown set to hit the trade or free-agent market this offseason, so Jon Gruden should look to the draft in an effort to find his number one wideout of the future. Fortunately for him, the 2020 wide receiver class is loaded with elite talent.
Tafur seems to think that Alabama’s Henry Ruggs is the prospect the Raiders are likely . to target in the draft.
“The 6-foot, 190-pound Ruggs is unpolished as a route runner but has 4.3 speed and Gruden will get his own Tyreek Hill with the 19th pick in the draft.”
While CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy would be the flashier pickups, no one would complain if the Raiders landed Ruggs. The team showed in 2019 that they needed more players with big-play ability, and who better than a guy with Tyreek Hill-type ability? Top Alabama wide receivers have had great success in the NFL, so that’s just another added bonus.