If there is one area in particular that the Oakland Raiders are safe and sound at, it’s at the wide receiver position.
Last year Oakland’s three receivers that started throughout the season (except for injury) were Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and rookie Rod Streater. Each and one of them had their big play moments and had successful seasons for themselves. However, Darrius Heyward-Bey, or DHB, was just recently signed by the Indianapolis Colts earlier this off season.
Jacoby Ford was sidelined all of last year due to a Lisfranc injury and was incredibly missed to say the least. Ford is not just a play maker on the receiving end, but he is a top kick returner as well with his electrifying, world-class speed.
Ford has missed 24 of 48 career games since being drafted in 2010. When healthy, Ford has proven to be a dynamic big-play threat at receiver and special teams, but injuries have disrupted any sort of development thus far in his career. He’ll likely be looking at a No. 3 or No. 4 receiving role coming out of training camp but can swiftly move his way up.
Streater took Ford’s role at wide receiver as a starter and showed the Oakland organization an enormous amount of promise. As a rookie he recorded 39 receptions for 584 yards and added three touchdowns to his resume. He made quite a few spectacular plays and showed that he can fit into the system very well. Streater has obvious potential, and he should be able to come out strong next season and become one of Oakland’s top receivers yet again.
Moore has proven to be Oakland’s most talented receiver throughout the past couple years, without a question. Moore recorded 51 grabs for 741 yards and seven touchdowns last season. When just speaking on the wide receivers, Moore was the number one option for Oakland all season long. He has great speed and big play potential, but he needs to learn to catch the pig skin more consistently. He had six drops last year, which is outright unacceptable for the amount of catches that he had. Nevertheless, it’s inevitable with the potential that he has that he will continue to improve and become a better player in all areas.
With the departure of Heyward-Bey., my assumption is that Oakland’s top three receivers next year will be Moore, Streater and Ford. The Raiders just acquired WR and special teams ace Josh Cribbs, so expect him to get in the mix at receiver at times. There are some other guys that I can see getting snaps at receiver, such as Juron Criner, Marcel Reece, and rookie Brice Butler, who I watched in college and certainly has the talent to potentially get himself in the mix.
As I mentioned, the receiving core of Oakland is the least of their concerns, as there is talent across the board. Hopefully for the Raiders, whoever becomes the Raiders starting quarterback can get these young talented receivers the ball consistently, because we know what these guys are capable of doing.