One of the few positions that wasn’t a need for the Las Vegas Raiders heading into the draft was wide receiver. The team has one of the best trios in the NFL with Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Renfrow. However, none of those three are particularly fast and get open by running strong routes.
The Raiders addressed speed at wide receiver with the pick of third-round pick of Tre Tucker but if owner Mark Davis had it his way, they would’ve taken a speedy wide receiver a little earlier. Davis is very different from his father Al but he inherited the love for speed at wide receiver.
NBC Sports’ Peter King was able to spend time in the Raiders’ draft room and took note of an interaction between Davis and head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt was one of the faster players in the draft and when he started falling, Davis took note of him and suggested to the coach and general manager that he’d love to add him.
“Too bad we don’t have a need at receiver,” Davis said. “Can he run?”
“Like the wind,” McDaniels replied.
While Davis was putting out a feeler, he wasn’t about to put his general manager and head coach in an awkward position.
“Davis started laughing, like he could sense Ziegler and McDaniels did not want him to start lobbying for the best speed receiver in the draft,” King wrote.
Hyatt ended up being selected in the third round by the New York Giants at pick No. 73.
Why Did Raiders Draft Tucker Later in 3rd Round?
The Raiders drafting Hyatt in the third round sounds like an odd move considering their needs but they did end up drafting a wide receiver in the third round. They had a pick at No. 70 and could’ve picked up Hyatt before the Giants had a chance.
The decision to draft Tucker at the end of the third round was the most surprising pick the team made. Wide receiver wasn’t a need and the former Cincinnati standout was expected to go much lower. Ziegler had a chance to discuss what goes into evaluating the value of a player.
“It’s a challenging part of it because you really don’t know,” Ziegler said. “We do put a lot of time into studying team needs and trying to understand what other teams’ draft philosophies are, but it’s hard to know … exactly how they feel about maybe a specific player on their team.”
What Will Tucker’s Role Be as a Rookie?
As noted earlier, the Raiders have plenty of wide receiver talent so they won’t need Tucker to play much of a role on offense as a rookie. However, he should see a lot of work on special teams. The Raiders haven’t had a great kick returner since Dwayne Harris left in 2019. Tucker has 4.39 40-yard dash speed and could be a factor in the return game.
He also might be the fastest wide receiver on the team right now. The Raiders could figure out ways to utilize him on the offense. He could see his role get bigger and bigger as he gains experience but there shouldn’t be high expectations for him at the start of the 2023 season.