Raiders undrafted WR drawing rave reviews from Jon Gruden, Derek Carr originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com
The Raiders revamped their wide receiving corps this offseason, bringing in Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson, Ryan Grant and fifth-round draft pick Hunter Renfrow to help quarterback Derek Carr.
Brown, Williams and Renfrow will get a lot of attention during organized team activities and minicamp, but there's another receiver who has impressed both head coach Jon Gruden and Carr early on in his NFL career.
Keelan Doss signed with the Raiders after going undrafted out of the University of California-Davis and has the size, ball skills and awareness to make it as a receiver in the NFL.
Gruden likes what he has seen from Doss so far.
"Yeah, we coached Doss in the Senior Bowl and really liked him," Gruden said Tuesday after the first day of OTAs. "I think he's smart. He's athletic and he's got size and I think he's going to be able to compete on special teams, as well. Plus he's from Alameda, so we had to get Doss."
It's a long road for an undrafted rookie to make it to the NFL and stick in the league, but Carr believes Doss is different than a lot of the undrafted rookies he's seen come through Oakland.
"Yeah, I think Keelan is going to be a good player," Carr said. "Obviously, he's a rookie, right? He's got a long way to go. But just watching him you can tell -- he works his tail off and it means something to him. We've had other guys come in here, I've seen undrafted free agents come in here and they are just like, 'Man, I'm in the NFL.' And they are posting pictures of them jogging in a jersey, but they don't really like football. You know? They don't really care. They are just trying to, I guess, show that they have a little influence, that they are a professional football player, when really they haven't made the team yet, so their not, you know? He is not that at all. He is someone, man he doesn't want this to just be a one-time stop. He wants to make a career out of this. And hopefully man, he works his tail off and he does make a career out of it.
"But that's just the initial reaction I've gotten from him is that it means something to him. And you can win with that."
Doss had a productive career at UC-Davis, finishing his collegiate run with 321 catches for 4,069 yards and 28 touchdowns.
He was expected to be a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick, but a pectoral injury at the combine hurt his training for the 40-yard dash.
Doss impressed during his time at the Senior Bowl, drawing comparisons to a star AFC West receiver.
"The player he reminds of is Keenan Allen," Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy told NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair. "That's really high praise. You don't just throw player comparisons out there. It's rare with NFL teams. Everything has to line up, and I really feel like he's a good comp for Keenan Allen. How he went undrafted, it really surprised me. We're not privy to medical info, and he has some injuries dating back to high school, so I don't know it that scared teams off. Outside of that, the Raiders got a steal.
The 6-foot-2, 211-pound receiver knows how to get open, can win in the red zone and is a polished route-runner. Perhaps the Keenan Allen comparison checks out.
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While Doss has a long road ahead of him to make the 53-man roster, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him make the team over some of the other receivers the club brought in this offseason and possibly contribute in 2019.