In 2016, the Oakland Raiders had an explosive offense but a mediocre defense. The Raiders ranked No. 6 in the NFL offensively, averaging more than 373 yards per game while scoring an average of 26 points.
So, the thinking was going into the offseason that Oakland would focus on making its defense its priority for improvement.
Yet when free agency opened, the Raiders quickly signed a pair of exciting receivers with the potential to make the Derek Carr-led passing attack even more effective in 2017.
This week, head coach Jack Del Rio, at the NFL meetings in Arizona, was excited to talk about what tight end Jared Cook and wide receiver-kick returner Cordarelle Patterson add to the offense.
Cook, who played last season for the Packers, will give Oakland a second strong receiving option at his position with young Clive Walford.
“He’s developed,” Del Rio told Kyle Martin of Raiders.com. “I mean, at this point you’re getting a guy that’s in his prime. He’s physically grown from when he came out to where he is now. He’s really worked at his body, his strength. He’s a guy that we think can do a little bit of everything. He blocks a little bit better than maybe he’s given credit for. He definitely can be a matchup problem for defenses to deal with and handle.”
Patterson has terrific speed and is the best kickoff returner in the NFL, having led the league three times in his four seasons.
“Really excited about CP,” said Del Rio. “He’s a gifted athlete. Once he touches the ball he can score from anywhere. He’s excited about what we plan on doing with him in our offense and in our special teams. He’s not just a special teams guy. We’re going to integrate him into our offense and I think he’s a dynamic playmaker.”
Del Rio will still need to add a No. 1 running back after the departure of Latavius Murray in free agency. And, he didn’t address specifically the reports that former Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch could come out of retirement to play for the Raiders, or that former Vikings standout Adrian Peterson could sign with them.
But Del Rio sounded confident the Raiders will add a capable replacement to Murray.
“When it’s all said and done, there’s a strong likelihood we’ll have a guy that can give us some of that power running,” said Del Rio, according to Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group.
Del Rio added the Raiders are looking “at options” to upgrade at the position.