Depth Chart Analysis: Oakland Raiders Wide Receivers

The Oakland Raiders receivers have a significantly better quarterback throwing them the ball in 2010.  I don’t think anyone would argue that, with the acquisition of Jason Campbell and having jettisoned JaMarcus Russell.  However, are there actually receivers worth owning on the team (outside of tight end Zach Miller)?  Let’s take a look at the receiving corps and find out:

Darius Heyward-Bey
We all know the Raiders reached for him when they used the seventh overall pick in 2009 to draft him out of the University of Maryland.  That type of position brought huge expectations that he never had a chance to live up to, especially with Russell trying to throw him the ball.

However, even with a bad QB he should have produced better numbers.  Playing in 11 games he managed just 9 catches for 124 yards and one touchdown.  Having run a 4.25 40-yard dash at the combine, he does have the potential to be a big play threat with Campbell’s big arm.

After last season’s debacle he’s going to be an afterthought on draft day, and rightfully so.  Still, all you have to do is look at his 2008 stats at Maryland to know that he has a lot more ability then what he showed last year.  That year he caught 42 balls for 608 yards, as well as rushing the ball 15 times for 202 yards.  That tells me that if the Raiders find ways to incorporate him into the offense and get the ball in his hands, he could make some plays.

Don’t draft him as a starter, clearly.  You may not even want to draft him for your bench, but keep an eye on him.  He has the potential to become a useful option as a bye week or injury fill-in.

Chaz Schilens
There are thoughts that he has the most ability of any Raiders receiver, but there are some significant concerns surrounding him.  Surgery on his foot last August held him out of the lineup until Week 10 (29 catches for 365 yards in 8 games) and he again needed surgery on the same foot this offseason.

The talk is that the procedure was a minor one, but it still has to raise some red flags for fantasy owners.  Has his foot become a chronic issue that will impede his production moving forward?  Who knows, but it’s enough of a concern to make him nothing more then a high upside reserve on draft day.

Louis Murphy
He’s expected to be the third receiver on the depth chart, but with the concerns regarding the two above him he should see ample opportunities.  He started nine games in his rookie season, ranking second on the team in receptions (34) and yards (521), while leading the team with 4 TDs through the air.

His upside may not be the same as the top two options, but he may be the safest of the bunch.  That doesn’t make him draftable, however, more of waiver wire fodder early in the season.  Of course, if things change and he becomes an every down receiver for Campbell, then he could become usable in all formats.

Johnny Lee Higgins
Having traded up to draft Jacoby Ford in the fourth round of the draft, Higgins job appears to be in jeopardy.  Don’t bother considering him.

Jacoby Ford
Could there be a fourth round selection who fell into a better situation?  The track star can fly, having run the 60-meter dash in 6.52 seconds back in 2008 (the world record at that distance is 6.39).

At Clemson in 2009 he set career highs in receptions (56), yards (779) and touchdowns (6).  He recorded at least one catch in all 13 games, including a pair of 100-yard receiving games.

The Raiders will likely try to find ways to get him involved, utilizing his speed.  They’ll likely use him on returns and possibly as a home run hitter.  That’s going to bring inconsistent performances, making him tough to depend on.  If his role grows into the slot receiver early on, he could become the most useful receiver on the team.

What are your thoughts on the Raiders’ receiving corps?  Is there anyone you’d draft?  Would you just avoid them all?

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