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Jon Gruden’s Raiders spent the offseason importing a wave of new receiving threats for Derek Carr, signing Jordy Nelson and trading for Martavis Bryant and Ryan Switzer during the draft.
On the high side of the potential bell curve, combining Nelson’s red-zone acumen and Bryant’s field-stretching ability to Amari Cooper’s do-everything skillset could provide Oakland the foundation of a stellar receiving corps.

“We’ve got a competitive situation here at wide receiver,” Gruden said, via NBC Bay Area. “So I like that.”

The wild card for the Raiders is Bryant, who owns the talent to be a top-flight receiver, but has been inconsistent on the field, and had issues off it. It’s telling that the Pittsburgh Steelers jettisoned him at the first sign of solid compensation.

If Bryant is motivated heading into the final year of his contract, Gruden see’s the freaky athlete as a potential difference maker.

“Let me tell you, he brings a different dynamic,” the coach said.” He’s 6-foot-4 and he plays it. He’s 4.4- (second 40-yard dash) 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.”

The combination of Cooper, Nelson, and Bryant looks good on paper, if each lives up to his potential. If Cooper bounces back from a disappointing season, if Nelson finds young legs now that he’s back with a Pro Bowl QB, and if Bryant lives up to his natural ability, the Raiders would boast a corps that complements each other and could win at every level. Like most of Oakland’s composition in Gruden’s first spring, however, that’s a ton of ifs to overcome as we sit in mid-May.

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Now that Denver’s draft has come and gone without a marquee quarterback addition, general manager John Elway insists former first-round pick Paxton Lynch has a new lease on life with the Broncos.

Although Lynch has faceplanted in multiple opportunities to beat out Trevor Siemian — now banished to Minneapolis as Kirk Cousins’ backup — Elway isn’t prepared to throw in the towel on a major investment.

“We are not kicking him to the curb,” Elway said, via Mike Klis of KUSA in Denver. “He can still develop. When we drafted him two years ago, as I said, we knew it was going to take some time.”
The coaching staff is running out of development time, however, as Elway has just one more year to decide whether to pick up the fifth-year option on Lynch’s rookie contract.

Entering his third season since the Broncos thwarted the Cowboys’ attempt to trade up for his services, the rocket-armed former Memphis star has no shot to unseat Case Keenum for Denver’s starting job. In fact, Lynch must hold off Chad Kelly — the final pick in the 2017 NFL Draft — just to earn the visor and clipboard this year.

“Paxton is going to compete with Chad for that backup spot,” Elway added. “We are not going to bring another one in for OTAs. We will take a peek at that. It will be those two and Case.”

Lynch has managed an anemic 76.7 passer rating on 128 career attempts, showing a disturbing penchant for taking sacks and failing to move the chains. Even if Elway’s offensive line merits an ample portion of the blame, we now know that sack totals tell us as much about the quarterback as the blocking. Lynch has simply looked lost under center in five NFL appearances.

After reviewing Lynch’s game film early this offseason, the Broncos’ brass aggressively recruited Keenum, handing over $25 million in guaranteed money.

Elway can’t be blamed for maintaining a public display of faith in a first-round draft bust, but his actions speak louder than his words.