ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper agrees with Raiders fans when it comes to undrafted free agent wide receiver Conner Vernon.

Kiper: “If he led the Raiders in catches in his second year, I wouldn’t be surprised. In the mold of a Wes Welker, he’s a technician with reliable hands. Make that tremendous hands, and he is the career receptions leader in the ACC.”

Raiders fans were immediately making the connection to last year’s undrafted steal Rod Streater and to Welker on Twitter and my e-mail when Vernon was signed. Vernon is 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, while Welker is 5-9 and 185 — but he also went undrafted before becoming an All-Pro receiver for the Patriots.

“It’s funny how, nowadays, you’re just comparing race to race here,” the Duke receiver recently told USA Today’s Mike Garafolo. “Aside from my skin color, I don’t see where they got that assumption.”

Setting ACC records for career receptions (283) and receiving yards (3,749) during his senior season, Vernon had 85 catches for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns during his final year with the Blue Devils. He went to the Senior Bowl, where he caught the eye of the Raiders coaching staff (on the North team) and quarterback Tyler Wilson — who was drafted by Oakland in the fourth round.