The Raiders' receiving corps has been running on empty lately. They expected that area to be a strength going into the season with Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams creating a dynamic 1-2 punch.
That obviously didn't happen with Brown released one day before the season opener and Williams already sidelined with a foot injury. Oakland had to use a combination of recently acquired receiver Trevor Davis, rookie Hunter Renfrow and undrafted rookie Keelan Doss in its 24-21 Week 5 win over Chicago in London.
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock has made yet another attempt to find quarterback Derek Carr a viable wide receiver. A source confirmed to NBC Sports California's Scott Bair on Monday that the Silver and Black sent a 2021 fifth-round draft pick to the Bills to acquire wideout Zay Jones.
This move shouldn't come as a shock when looking at Mayock's affinity for Jones in the past.
Prior to Mayock becoming the Raiders' GM right before the New Year, he spent years as an NFL draft analyst and took quite the liking to Jones ahead of the 2017 draft. Mayock came away from the Senior Bowl with a glowing review of Jones.
"People thought he couldn't run because most of his offense was underneath. I'll tell you right now, he ran away from people at the Senior Bowl," Mayock said ahead of the draft. "He went from a third- or fourth-round selection to a high second-round because he trusted the process."
Jones led the North Team in the Senior Bowl with six receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown, which he caught from quarterback Nathan Peterman, who currently is on injured reserve for the Raiders. Mayock was so impressed with Jones, he ranked him ahead of two eventual star receivers going into the draft.
Two weeks before the 2017 draft, Mayock ranked Jones as his No. 4 receiver behind Mike Williams, John Ross and Corey Davis. Tied for fifth, right behind Jones, were JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cooper Kupp. While Smith-Schuster made the Pro Bowl last season and Kupp ranks fourth in receiving yards (505) this season, Jones has struggled so far in the pros.
The Bills selected Jones No. 37 overall, ahead of JuJu and Kupp, and the results haven't been too inspiring so far. Through 36 career games, Jones has 90 receptions for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns. He only has seven receptions for 69 yards this season and is yet to record a TD.
Jones is the all-time NCAA Division-I leader in career receptions (399) and ranks 13th all-time in receiving yards (4,279). He was a star in college at East Carolina, though that hasn't translated to the pros yet.
If anyone will give Jones a long look and boost his confidence, however, Mayock sure seems like the GM to do so.