If the Raiders need depth at wide receiver, you'd think they'd seek out a veteran to mentor the young pass catchers already on their roster, right?Probably, but that did not keep them from kicking the tires on former Baylor wideout Josh Gordon at his Pro Day in Houston on Tuesday as one of 21 NFL teams in attendance before Thursday's supplemental draft.At first glance, Gordon does not fit the Raiders' needs at all, what with his only having one year of starting experience.But the 6-foot-3, 224-pound Gordon, who has run the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds, is an intriguing prospect after catching 42 passes for 714 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore in 2010 before being suspended by Baylor last year after failing a drug test, reportedly for marijuana, transferring to Utah and applying for the NFL's supplemental draft without playing a down for the Utes. Two years ago, he was considered a rising star with second-round talent. Now? Many see him falling to the fourth or fifth round."The supplemental draft isn't the way you want to go into the NFL when you're growing up, but considering my circumstances, I've got to attack it with a full head of steam and do the best I can," Gordon told the Houston Chronicle. "Having a chance to play in the NFL is a dream come true for me and my family. I appreciate having this opportunity. If I'm not drafted, I'll be happy to get a chance as a free agent."The Raiders maintain their first-round draft pick from the Carson Palmer trade but are without a second-rounder as a result of the deal.And after using a third-rounder on quarterback Terrelle Pryor in last year's supplemental draft, it's hard to see Oakland doing the same two years in a row, even with a new regime.Besides, the Raiders have a potentially potent receiving corps in Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Juron Criner, Rod Streater and Louis Murphy, not counting Eddie McGee and Duke Calhoun.
The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.
They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.
Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.
“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”
While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.
The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.
“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.
"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”
Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.
Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.
Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.
“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”
Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.
“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”