The Las Vegas Raiders had a pretty successful 2023 NFL Draft; they picked defensive lineman Tyree Wilson in the first round and snagged Michael Mayer in the second round. The Raiders also added some bulk to their defensive line in the third round by selecting Byron Young. In the third round, Las Vegas traded up and took a receiver, Tre Tucker, out of Cincinnati. The pick was a head-scratcher because of all the receivers the Raiders added in the off-season. In total, Las Vegas added DeAndre Carter, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, and Cam Sims.
“The people that they have out there are great receivers, but as far as me, I think I’m just an all-around, well-rounded receiver,” said Tucker. “I don’t know my role yet, but I’m just open to doing whatever the team needs me to, whether that’s running down and covering kicks, could be anything. I’m just happy to be a Raider.”
Raiders general manager Dave Zeigler and his staff must have really liked Tucker and felt he could be an asset to the team. In four years with the Bearcats, Tucker thrived as special teams returner and gunner. As a kick returner, he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, while as a receiver, he had 1,425 yards and eight touchdowns.
How 4.4″ 40-Yard Tre Tucker Improves the Las Vegas Raiders Offense
Tucker is an explosive playmaker with good long speed. His speed allows him to get open on all levels of the field. In addition, Tucker is good at making plays with the ball in his hands. The receiver is also tough from his time as a wrestler.
“It’s unique. … There’s a level of toughness you have to have to be a wrestler,” Ziegler said of the third-round pick. “I think that’s one thing that Tre has, yeah he’s a smaller guy, but he plays bigger, and he plays with an edge. I think a lot of toughness comes from wrestling. He also has good balance and agility when you watch him, and if you’ve watched any good wrestlers, that’s one thing wrestlers are able to do.
“Plays with leverage, has agility, has balance, and I think it’s a unique thing for a receiver; you don’t often see those two things attached.”
One of the knocks on Tucker is his size; he is 5’9, 182, and physical play bothers him. As a result, he struggles against press coverage and making contested catches. On the NFL level, cornerbacks will be physical with Tucker. He may have to bulk a bit to be able to handle the physical better,
Outlook on Tre Tucker
If Tucker is to be a factor of the Raiders, it will come in the special teams’ department. He is an outstanding gunner; Tucker made nine tackles as a gunner at Cincinnati. Also, as a returner, the Raiders have not had a good kick returner since Jacoby Ford.
Tucker will also bring a speed element to the Raiders offense, something they did not have last year. He could be used to stretch the field and also on gadget plays. Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels will design players to get Tucker in space and have him lining up all over the field to create mismatches. While drafting a receiver was not a glaring need for the Raiders, they can still turn the pick into a successful one if Tucker picks things up quickly and McDaniels uses him correctly.
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