The Raiders used the third-round pick they picked up by sliding back five spots in the first round of the 2018 draft to take a flier on receiver Martavis Bryant. So far, the flight is having a hard time getting off the ground.
“He’s got to get out here and play better,” Gruden said Saturday, via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He’s in a competitive situation. Right now, a lot of the other receivers have had a nice camp. He’s just got to learn the offense. He’s got to stay out here. He’s had some illnesses. He’s got to get on the field. He’s got to master the offense and become more versatile, and that’s the key to making this team better.”
Amaro Cooper and Jordy Nelson sit atop the depth chart in Oakland. It remains to be seen where Bryant fits.
The draft-pick investment likely gives Bryant the benefit of the doubt when it comes to carving the roster down to 53. But that won’t guarantee playing time or opportunities to make an impact on the field.
Bryant’s on-field struggles come at a time when, as Gehlken previously reported, the Raiders are bracing for another potential suspension of Bryant under the substance-abuse policy. Although he reportedly has not failed or missed a drug test, there are other ways to run afoul of the substance-abuse policy when a player is in Stage 3 of the program, one false move away from another minimum banishment of a full calendar year.
Bryant missed all of the 2016 season in Pittsburgh. His best year came in 2015, when he caught 50 passes for 765 yards.