An offense without weapons at wide receiver is like a great white shark without rows of razor-sharp teeth. It doesn't pose nearly as much of a threat.
That's what the Raiders' offense had to deal with in 2019. While Hunter Renfrow was a revelation in the slot and Darren Waller blossomed at tight end, the lack of weapons at receiver put a ceiling on Jon Gruden's offense.
Tyrell Williams will be back as the team transitions to Las Vegas, and the Raiders hope the plantar fascitis that hampered him last season is a thing of the past. The Raiders signed Nelson Agholor and hope to get more out of Zay Jones, but they need to add dynamic playmakers if they plan to take the next step.
The Raiders should add an elite receiver with one of their two first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, but one isn't enough. Make no mistake, adding either CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs would make the offense worlds more dangerous, but more help is needed. No, the Raiders won't use both first-round picks on receivers, they have too many other needs to focus just on the hole out wide.
But they have three third-round picks, a fourth-round pick and fifth-round selection to play with, and this draft class is loaded at receiver, giving the Raiders several Day 2 and Day 3 options to look at.
K.J. Hamler, Penn State
I'm going to start here. Hamler is a household name and he'll likely be off the board in Round 2, but the electric Penn State receiver has the explosiveness and big-play ability the Raiders sorely lacked in 2019.
He has the route-running and hands to make him a high-target slot receiver in the NFL and his ability to make defenders miss and turn a 9-yard gain into a huge chunk play is something that should have Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock salivating.
Hamler isn't any sort of hidden gem. His ability and break-neck speed are well-documented and the Raiders no doubt will have their eye on him.
Chase Claypool, Notre Dame
There were questions about Claypool's positional fit before the NFL Scouting Combine. Some teams asked the 6-foot-4, 238-pound receiver to workout at tight end. That doesn't matter now.
After running a 4.42 40-yard dash and recording a 40.5-inch vertical at the combine, it's clear that Claypool's size and freakish athleticism will allow him to find a home in the NFL.
Only two wide receivers since 2005 have recorded a sub 4.45 40 while measuring 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds. Claypool and Calvin Johnson.
He can be a vertical threat on the outside or operate in the slot as a possession receiver to move the sticks. His versatility will make him a coveted Day 2 pick. Claypool likely won't be available in Round 3, but with a class this deep and versatile it's hard to tell who will go where after the first four receivers are off the board.
Contested-catch ability? Check.
K.J. Hill, Ohio State
As shown by last year's draft class, Mayock and Gruden put a premium on production and culture fit. Look no further than Ohio State's K.J. Hill.
No player has caught more passes in Ohio State history than Hill, and that includes the likes of Cris Carter and Michael Thomas.
At 6-foot, Hill comes with some physical limitations -- so did Renfrow -- but he's a silky route-runner with elite separation skills, good hands and natural run-after-the-catch ability. The Buckeye star should be available in Round 3, and it's easy to see Gruden selecting Hill after adding outside threat in Round 1.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Buckeyes are in the building. ⭕️— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) December 8, 2019
Justin Fields finds K.J. hill for Ohio State’s first lead of the game.
KJ Hill making money pic.twitter.com/mJZ1Nq8zmk— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 23, 2020
Michael Pittman Jr., USC
The Raiders really struggled in the red zone last season. A healthy Williams should give them a boost, but they'll need more to capitalize on scoring opportunities.
Introducing, USC's Michael Pittman Jr.
The 6-4 receiver is long, strong, has huge hands and a massive catch radius. He is great at winning on nine routes, comebacks, quick outs and slants. His big frame and physicality give him the ability to win on contested catches.
Pittman isn't the fleetest of foot and can struggle to create separation but the physical tools will be hard to pass up.
Michael Pittman, Jr., WR, USC:— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) March 15, 2020
• NFL DNA (+)
• Has a GPS on the ball in the air (++)
• Easy releases off of the LOS
• Higher elevator levels than others
• Contested catch monster
• Added branches to route tree in 2019pic.twitter.com/ZJ3Szk173s
Devin Duvernay, Texas
If the Raiders have learned one thing from going against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, it's that deadly speed is something you need to have lots of and it can't be taught. That's why I opened this with Hamler, despite him not being a "hidden gem," and that's why we now arrive at Devin Duvernay.
The 5-11 Texas slot receiver can burn it up. Speed, hands and physicality are what you need to know about his game. When the ball is in his hands he's as dangerous as anyone. His lack of separation agility has some people questioning his fit, but he has skills you just can't teach and could be a dynamic weapon for the Silver and Black.
Oh, and he had zero career dropped passes in the red zone during his four years in Austin.
[RELATED: DTs Raiders could look to draft in Round 1]
Van Jefferson, Florida
I'll end this with a high-floor prospect who is a likely Day 3 selection.
Florida's Van Jefferson is a nuanced route-runner with good ball skills. While the hands are good and the routes are clean, Jefferson will be 24 when he takes an NFL snap and has an average athletic profile.
He can play both outside and in the slot. He thrives in the middle of the field and should have a productive NFL career as a second target.
Van Jefferson appreciation thread. Outstanding route runner. Patience, polish & finish. pic.twitter.com/Ke91uyrrvE— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 2, 2020