Does Michael Crabtree Give Raiders Flexibility at No. 4 in 2015 NFL Draft?

Until recently, most experts agreed that the Oakland Raiders would take either Amari Cooper or Kevin White with the fourth overall pick of the 2015 NFL draft. The Raiders had otherwise failed to add a wide receiver for quarterback Derek Carr in free agency, so it was only natural to assume that finding one early in the draft was a priority.

Maybe it still is, but the signing of former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree may have given the Raiders flexibility at No. 4 to go in another direction. Crabtree isn’t a No. 1 receiver, but by adding another quality pair of hands to go with Rod Streater, James Jones and Andre Holmes, the Raiders suddenly have a crowded group.

Streater, Crabtree and Holmes will all be playing one-year deals, and James Jones is 31 with no guaranteed money on the remaining two years of his three-year contract, so it’s still highly likely that they will address the position early in the draft. Signing Crabtree did little to change general manager Reggie McKenzie’s plan, but it may have revealed part of it to the masses.

When McKenzie was with the Green Bay Packers, they often selected defensive players and offensive tackles in the first round and wide receivers in the second round with good success. Given the depth at wide receiver in the 2015 class, waiting until Round 2 to select one makes sense.

As general manager of the Raiders, McKenzie has so far focused on defense in the first round and offense in the second round. He also desperately needs an edge-rusher to help a defensive unit that finished 30th in sack percentage last year.


Comparing Crabtree

Given his career production, Crabtree might be the most talked-about receiver to average fewer than 60 yards per game in his career. Crabtree’s 54.8 yards-per-game average is comparable to that of Kendall Wright, Eric Decker, Torrey Smith and Stevie Johnson since he ent...

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