Throughout Hard Knocks in 2019, Keelan Doss kept a significant amount of spotlight, even with the excessive amounts of drama. Since then, however, Doss has not exactly risen to what his impressive amount of television coverage in 2019 may have hinted at. Following Hard Knocks, Doss was promptly cut by the Raiders and signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, before being reacquired by the Raiders.
Throughout the season, Doss recorded a total of 133 yards. Doss thrived as the best FCS wide receiver in the 2019 draft. The Raiders fought to get him back after letting him walk. Throughout the intensive coverage of the 2019 preseason, head coach Jon Gruden seemed enthralled with Doss and allowed him to take significant reps with quarterback Derek Carr.
However, the Raiders have a significantly better outlook at wide receiver. Players like Henry Ruggs III, Tyrell Williams, Zay Jones, and Bryan Edwards eyeing spots on the wide receiver depth chart. The Oakland Raiders have an incredible group of athletes in their wide receiving corps, and it would appear quite difficult to cut any of them. The biggest hit Doss may have taken was, throughout the drought of wide receivers the Raiders experienced in 2019, Doss still could not find a foothold towards the top of the depth chart.
But, Doss remained with the team throughout the entire season, meaning Gruden might have a bigger purpose in store for the second-year player. While having hopes a player may develop into his full potential is good, it might not hold against proven players. Doss’ biggest competitors for a roster spot could be Marcell Ateman and Rico Gafford. Ateman all but cemented his job last season, falling into Carr’s favorite game in and game out.
Gafford, on the other hand, had fewer appearances last season. Despite logging minimal stats, Gafford has also been kept around for reasons greater than just this year. But, with a 53-man roster, there just simply is not enough space to keep every player a coach may have seen good things in. With his extensive coverage on Hard Knocks, Doss may find himself as the fan-favorite to make the team.
Is the “Best FCS Wide Receiver in the 2019 Draft” going to show the same potential in year two? Hopes are very high for him to do just that, and he is going to have to do exactly that, at least, if he intends to crack a roster spot with the Raiders’ stacked offense.
This preseason and offseason could prove to be the most significant for Doss’ career in the Silver and Black. Carr and Doss work out outside of camps, hopefully building chemistry. Last season, Doss’ numbers probably struggled due to Carr’s apparent lack of familiarity with him. The seventh-year quarterback appears as finicky and very quick to overlook a receiver he does not trust. Perhaps Doss can be the one to change that trend and fall back into Carr’s good graces.
Regardless of what happens, Doss has made at least one lifetime fan: me.