As we inch closer and closer to the start of the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, our Position Reviews soldiers on.
Today, we take a look at the Silver and Black's wide receivers, recapping how their respective 2017 campaigns went, while also taking an early look at how the position group appears to be shaking out in the early stages of 2018.
Overview:Look, it's no secret that the Oakland Raiders offense struggled to find its footing last year.
Across the board, statistically speaking, the numbers were down from an outstanding 2016 campaign, and the team's wide receivers were not immune from that trend.
After boasting a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in 2016 (Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree), no Raider eclipsed 700 yards in 2017; in fact, tight end Jared Cook led the team in receiving with 688 yards.
While Cook did indeed lead the team in receiving yards, once again, Cooper and Crabtree were the Raiders base receivers, although, in a deviation from years past, neither wideout played in all 16 games.
Crabtree played in 14 games in 2017, while Cooper made just 12 appearances as he battled some nagging issues throughout the year. Now, would a game or two have made a huge difference in either "Coop" or "Crab's" bid to get to 1,000 yards? Likely not, but it just goes to show that the Raiders offense – out wide in particular – didn't have the benefit of a full deck of cards for parts of 2017.
With Cooper and Crabtree patrolling out wide, Seth Roberts was once again the primary slot receiver, hauling in 43 passes and one touchdown during his 15 games in 2017.
With Andre Holmes departing for upstate New York in free agency, General Manager Reggie McKenzie added some depth to the wide receivers room, signing speedy playmaker Cordarrelle Patterson away from the Minnesota Vikings.
And the explosive playmaker was just that, adding a spark in the return game, as well as making the most of his touches on offense, finishing 2017 with 309 receiving yards, as well as 121 on the ground.
Second-year wide receiver Johnny Holton appeared in all 16 games, and in addition to his work on special teams, he proved to be a valuable asset as a downfield threat for Derek Carr.
Isaac Whitney was also signed to the active roster late in the 2017 campaign, and he made two appearances by year's end.
Raiders.com looks back at the 2017 season with some of the top photos of Raiders wide receivers.
The Number To Know:25.
With 25 receiving touchdowns since 2015, Michael Crabtree ranks fifth among all wide receivers during that span.
Going Forward:Can the Raiders wide receivers bounce back in a big way in 2018? The Silver and Black boasted one of the best offenses in the game in 2016, but for whatever reason, that just wasn't the case in 2017.
Even though Cooper and Crabtree both had, statistically speaking, down years in 2017, I still believe that they're one of the best wide receiving tandems in the NFL, and I have full confidence that they'll both return to form in 2017.
Even though all the team's wide receivers are technically under contract for 2018, we all know that the roster is fluid in the NFL, so I'm excited to see what the new coaching staff thinks of the guys currently on the roster.
MVP Of The Position Group:This might surprise some folks, but I'm going to say Cordarrelle Patterson.
Not only did No. 84 appear in all 16 games for the Raiders, he was dynamic and explosive in myriad roles. When he was given the chance, he showed that he was one of the more valuable return men in the NFL, and when his number was called on offense, he certainly made the most of his opportunities.
His production now begs the question; how do you get "Flash" the ball more in 2018?
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