Found June 17, 2013 on
Football and Futbol:
The Oakland Raiders have a bunch of talented but unproven wide receivers throughout the roster. With quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Tyler Wilson fighting to become the starter it is time for the Raiders wide receivers to step-up.
After a highlight-ridden rookie year many thought that Denarius Moore would have a monster season for the silver and black last season but like most of the team he did not live up to the hype. With the departure of Darrius Heyward-Bey, Moore will be the number one receiver for the Raiders. While the Raiders will not likely pass as much this season expect Moore to put up better numbers with either Flynn or Wilson at the helm of the offense. In his short career Moore has shown that he can make spectacular catches and is a threat to go deep at any time. Under a new system he needs to show that he can be an effective route runner on shorter throws. It is of upmost importance that Moore and whoever the quarterback is, get enough reps with each other before the start of the season.
Denarius Moore Twitter Page (@denariusmoore)
The undrafted free agent Rod Streater was the Oakland Raiders most promising player from the moment he first strapped on his silver and black helmet last year. The Temple University product only had 19 catches his senior season which made his draft stock drop even for CFL teams. The 6’3 Streater ran a respectable 4.46 40-yard dash and had an NBA-like 38 inch vertical leap. During his rookie season Streater more than doubles his output from his senior season by having 39 receptions for over 580 yards. Streater is probably the Raiders most avid route runner so it would not be all that surprising if he put up the biggest numbers than Moore for the new look Raiders offense.
When the Oakland Raiders drafted Jacoby Ford in the 4th round of the 2010 NFL draft everyone expected Ford to be another track star who could not play a lick of football. Ford was the latest Raider draft pick to run the fastest 40-yard dash (4.28) at the combine. While many Raider fans expected a reincarnation of Johnny Lee Higgins, Ford immediately showed that he was the real deal within a few games of wearing the silver and black. During Ford’s rookie season he helped revitalize the kick return game by taking three kick returns to the house for touchdowns. Not only was Ford explosive on special teams but he also showed he was a game breaking wide receiver.
During a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Ford made a plethora of spectacular catches and returns. Ford finished with over 140 yards receiving and 150 return yards. It is of upmost importance that Ford is used in the offense this season. With no proven game breakers on the receiving core, Ford needs to step up as a leader. Ford should work well with Flynn’s style of play as a wide receiver by turning short throws into long touchdowns. Ford has all the game breaking ability as Percy Harvin, so the Raiders need to find a way to give him the ball on reverses and even line him up in the backfield.
Last season’s most disappointing rookie had to be Juron Criner. The 6’3 220 pound Criner looked like a potential star in training camp as he caught everything thrown his way. Raider fans immediately envisioned a new go-to-guy wearing the number 84 jersey. However, Criner did not show much during the season catching only 16 balls. Hopefully Criner has trained hard this off-season because he will be a key player when one of the Raiders wide receivers inevitably fall prey to injury.
This seasons mini-camp star has been 7th round draft pick Brice Butler. The 6’3 Butler is the type of raw athlete that former owner Al Davis used to covet. Although Butler did not put up big numbers at San Diego state his 4.37 40-yard dash and 40 inch vertical shows that he has all the tools to become a successful player in this league. While Butler is not expected to do much this season, he must continue to have a good off-season to latch on as a 5th or 6th wide receiver.
It looks like Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has found another impact undrafted free agent this year in Conner Vernon. The 6’0 wide receiver out of Duke was the ACC’s all-time leader in both reception and receiving yards. Which proves that Vernon has what it takes to become a go-to receiver. Vernon is also a high character guy who puts in his fair share of time in the film room. It was because of a slow 40-yard dash time, that Vernon was not drafted. Vernon can fit the role of a go-to-guy for new quarterback Matt Flynn. Vernon can lineup on the outside and in the slot this year for the Raiders. At worst Vernon would have a similar role to former Raiders wide receiver Derek Hagan. It would not be surprising if Vernon put up similar numbers to Streaters last year.
New offensive coordinator Greg Olsen will likely make the Raiders a run first team but the Raiders wide receivers will play a key role in the offense. With a crew of unproven tight ends and injury plagued Darren McFadden in the backfield, the Raiders might have to rely on the passing game at different spurts of the season. Hopefully at least two or three of the Raiders wide receivers live up to their lofty potential this season.
You can follow Jorge on twitter https://twitter.com/jraycontreras
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