Is Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver Austin Willis the Next Wes Welker?

No one knows it yet, but it’s possible the Oakland Raiders signed the next Wes Welker disguised as a fringe player scraping to secure a roster spot.

Yes, you’ve heard of Oakland's No. 4 pick in the 2015 draft, Amari Cooper, the highly touted and talented wide receiver out of Alabama. Let’s dig beyond the sand and gravel to uncover a true diamond in the rough.


Kick Return Ability and Opportunity

Who is Austin Willis?

Willis is exactly who Welker was upon breaking into the league, and he’s going to follow the same route to garner respect from Raider Nation and his opponents. 

In 2004, when Welker broke into the league, Larry Fitzgerald (6’3”), Roy Williams (6’3”) and Reggie Williams (6’3”) were top-10 overall picks. Drafting and starting bigger receivers kept average smaller-framed receivers like the 5'9" Welker confined to special teams duties.

Welker exclusively returned kicks and punts for the Miami Dolphins in 2004 after the San Diego Chargers released him. Welker was a major factor on special teams before he became known as the human slot machine in reference to his ability to rack up chunks of yards out of the slot position. 

The Raiders are stacked at wide receiver, and it’s evident to Willis that hard work and dedication to the small duties yield bigger opportunities. He’s certainly no stranger to working his way up from the bottom, per writer Levi Damien:

He came to Emporia State on a track scholarship. That was how he got his foot in the door to set his sights on his real ambition of playing football.

After making the team, he then had to pay his dues. His first season the undersized athlete played mostly on special teams, catching just one pass on offense. From there he continued to work on h...

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