For the first time since Jon Gruden came back to the Las Vegas Raiders, he did not select a wide receiver in the draft. He’s always liked to pick up at least one but decided against it this season. However, that doesn’t mean the team won’t have an exciting rookie pass catcher at training camp.
One of the first undrafted free agent signings the team made was former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dillon Stoner. The Raiders have been very good to undrafted wide receivers in the past. Just a couple of years ago, Keelan Doss became a fan favorite and ended up seeing the field as a rookie. It appears that Stoner is the next undrafted wide receiver ready to make a splash at Raiders training camp.
Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant even called him a “huge steal.” The two both went to Oklahoma State and have spoken before. Stoner heard about the praise he got from the former star and responded.
“I always looked to Dez,” Stoner said, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “We have had a few interactions, and anytime you see that name mentioning you it’s a pretty cool feeling.”
Bryant and Stoner are very different types of wide receivers but the former knows a thing or two about the position. Also, the Raiders seem to think that Bryant is right. According to Tafur, Stoner is getting “rave reviews” at offseason minicamps.
“I am just working to make this team and help this team win,” Stoner said. “When that happens, maybe I will give myself a little pat on the back.”
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Stoner Knows He Has a Lot to Prove
Every year, the Raiders have a young receiver who ends up stealing the show. The aforementioned Doss did it in 2019 and Bryan Edwards did it last year. However, neither player has had success during the regular season. Stoner knows he’s got a lot to do before he’s ready for Sundays.
“I haven’t done anything yet and I still have a lot to prove,” Stoner said. “I am confident in my abilities and believe I can help this team and organization win, and I am just taking it day by day.”
He’s certainly got the right attitude. There’s only so much the Raiders can learn about players in minicamps. Training camp will be the true test for Stoner.
Will Stoner Make the Team?
It’s clear that the Raiders are excited about Stoner’s potential. However, he’s going to have a tough time making the team. Henry Ruggs, Edwards, John Brown and Hunter Renfrow are all locks to make the roster. Las Vegas will likely hold onto six wide receivers heading into Week 1.
If Stoner hopes to make the team, his stiffest competition will be Willie Snead and Zay Jones. Those two are NFL veterans. Snead has had some really productive seasons over his career while Jones is heading into his third year with the Raiders and has a strong grasp of the offense. The most likely outcome is that Stoner heads to the practice squad to start the season and gets promoted on occasion.