Oakland Raiders Propelled to Relevancy Through Free Agency

The old adage about building through the draft doesn’t apply to the crux of the Oakland Raiders’ resurgence this season.

Yes, fourth overall pick wide receiver Amari Cooper flashes as one the most captivating rookie talents in recent memory. Second-round pick defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. has played all of 151 snaps between linebacker and defensive end, per Pro Football Focus. Third-round pick tight end Clive Walford barely scratched the surface of his maximum potential in the first seven games.

General manager Reggie McKenzie deservedly took on a lot of criticism for his misses on previous free-agent signings. However, he’s righted a lot of wrongs with an impact group of veterans who’ve immediately uplifted the team on both sides of the ball.


Michael Crabtree: Wide Receiver 1A

Raider Nation didn’t necessarily throw a party upon wide receiver Michael Crabtree’s arrival.

Green Bay Packers wideout Randall Cobb topped the list as the preferred choice in Oakland. When Cobb re-signed, most set their sights on Cooper as the cure-all antidote for the Raiders’ receiving deficiencies.

Fortunately, Cooper stepped into the league primed and ready for the big stage, but let’s not overlook his running mate on the perimeter: 

Through seven games, Crabtree’s production holds as much value as Cooper’s. Quarterback Derek Carr vouched for the veteran’s stay beyond this season to the local media:

According to ESPN's Bill Williamson, Crabtree dismissed future plans but reciprocated Carr's sentiment about a long-term stay:

"Crabtree laughed off questions about his future after Sunday's game in which he was a featured receiver, saying it was too early. But Crabtree said he loves playing with the Raiders. The feeling is mutual."


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