Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden likes what he sees in the team’s revamped wide receivers corps.
Jordy Nelson arrived in free agency while the Raiders traded for Martavis Bryant and Ryan Switzer. In turn, last year’s leading receiver, Michael Crabtree, is now with the Baltimore Ravens while Cordarrelle Patterson is with the New England Patriots.
“We’ve got a competitive situation here at wide receiver,” Gruden said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “So I like that.”
One aspect that brought a smile to his face is the addition of Bryant, who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a third-round pick. Bryant recorded 50 receptions for 603 yards and three touchdowns last season and added a scoring catch in the Steelers’ 45-42 playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Let me tell you, he brings a different dynamic,’ Gruden said.” He’s 6-foot-4 and he plays it. He’s 4.4- fast and he plays it. We just have to get him wired into the offense and Jordy Nelson’s experience and versatility has really been impressive that it’s allowed us to do some things in just a few days that is pretty cool. We like our receivers, and we think Martavis will make you think twice about doing some things.”
Gruden said earlier this offseason that the offense will rely heavily on Amari Cooper, who was limited to just 48 receptions for 680 yards last season. By comparison, Cooper had 83 catches for 1,153 yards in 2016.
After missing the 2015 season because of a knee injury, Nelson had a big 2016 season for the Green Bay Packers with 97 receptions, 1,257 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdown catches.
Nelson’s numbers declined significantly in 2017, when he had 53 catches for 482 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games.