As we near the conclusion of the 2023 preseason for the Las Vegas Raiders, there are some tough questions that’ll need to be answered. That’s especially true with regards to the wide receivers, namely Tre Tucker, DeAndre Carter, and Kristian Wilkerson.
The Raiders are deep at wide receiver—an understatement of the preseason.
The top of the order for Josh McDaniels’ receiving corps is surely set in stone. Superstar Davante Adams is your No. 1, obviously; you then have newcomer Jakobi Meyers alongside 2021 Pro Bowler Hunter Renfrow. However, things get a little murky after that. Some strong individual (and some not-so-strong) performances further complicate the matter.
As far as Tre Tucker goes, the 100th overall pick of the 2023 NFL draft is in a tough spot. A selection that received immediate criticism because of the depth at wide receiver for the Raiders, you’d think he’d be a roster lock despite his recent struggles. The drops have been a point of contention among Raiders fans, but his speed is special; it jumps out at you on film. It’s a quality you can’t coach; either you have it, or you don’t. With proper coaching and work on his technique, there’s much to be excited about for Tucker, though it’s unrealistic to believe he’ll have much impact behind the “big three.”
Then we have DeAndre Carter, and this is where it gets complicated.
#Raiders will have to cut vet WRs despite their solid performances this preseason.
They’ll catch on elsewhere, but it’s going to be tough to crack the roster behind the Raiders top 3 guys & Tre Tucker.
DeAndre Carter’s special team’s contributions leads me to think he’s got a spot.
— Moe Moton (@MoeMoton) August 20, 2023
As Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton points out, finding a niche on the roster after Tucker and the first three options will be tough. It’s funny; people always say you can never have too much of a good thing. Yet the Raiders find themselves in that position at the moment. They loaded up at wide receiver, and because of that, they could enter the season with one of the better units in the league. Case in point: Carter might be your WR5—that’s a deep assemblage.
Great return by DeAndre Carter.
In 2022, Carter totaled the 5th-most punting yards, averaging the second-most yards per punt return. His presence as a returner is not to be underestimated.
— Alex Monfreda (@AlexMonfreda) August 20, 2023
DeAndre Carter, Tre Tucker, and Phillip Dorsett—how will it play out?
Even the Raider Ramble’s deputy editor, Alex Monfreda, pointed out that Carter’s gifts as a returner are nothing to overlook. In fact, for his career, Carter averages nearly 10 yards per punt return (9.8) and almost 23 yards per kick return (22.3). Who could forget the 101-yard kick return he broke off while playing for Washington in 2021? Simply put, his upside on special team’s surely guarantees him a spot.
Interestingly enough, one receiver you’re not hearing too much about is Phillip Dorsett. The former New England Patriot is also expected to make the 53-man roster, further complicating things. For example, you also have Kristian Wilkerson. With seven catches this preseason (second on the team, h/t Alex Monfreda), Wilkerson is making his own case for the season. Still, a likely scenario is Wilkerson starting the year on the practice squad.
Something we should also note is that, given the nature of football, injuries, and whatnot, it’s likely that all of these players will suit up for the Raiders this season at one point or another. Who knows? Maybe McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler were smart to stockpile so many pass-catchers after all.
*Top Photo: Houston Chronicle