Failure to Land DeSean Jackson Leaves Raiders Desperate for Help

Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has done a good job rebuilding this offseason. After a rocky start that included voiding the contract of their most high-profile signing due to a failed physical, the Raiders managed to upgrade their offensive line and sign seven defensive starters.

What McKenzie has failed to do is bring in a core young playmaker on either side of the ball. The youngest unrestricted free agent the Raiders signed this offseason was 27-year-old offensive lineman Austin Howard.

The Philadelphia Eagles tossed the Raiders a lifeline by releasing wide receiver DeSean Jackson. It’s not very often a player like Jackson becomes available. It’s even rarer for such a player to be available at this stage of the offseason, so the Raiders had a unique opportunity.

With Jackson now off the market, the Raiders still have a desperate need for a young playmaker with no quick way of satisfying it. With owner Mark Davis growing impatient, a lifeline like Jackson could have kept McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen from drowning in the sea of 8-8 expectations.

McKenzie will have to turn to the draft to find a playmaker at wide receiver. It’s a special draft class of receivers, but rarely is a rookie an immediate star at the position, which is what the Raiders need.

Only six receivers in the history of the league have compiled 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns their rookie year—none since Randy Moss in 1998. Even 1,000-yard seasons are rare for rookie wide receivers, with only 16 in the history of the league accomplishing the feat.

Calvin Johnson didn’t even have 1,000 yards his rookie year.

The good news is that two receivers have done it in the past three years—Keenan Allen and A.J. Green. Julio Jones was 41 yards shy and would have been a third if not for missing three games his rookie year.

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