The Oakland Raiders are clearly in a rebuilding mode and general manager Reggie McKenzie has done a magnificent job in doing so.
That said, with all their new acquisitions, the players that were with the team before this splendid offseason must not be forgotten. They must too step up to the occasion and play like they want this team to go far.
One of the young and talented players that the Raiders have on their roster is wide receiver Juron Criner.
The Raiders drafted Criner with the 168th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The speedy wideout from Arizona had high hopes from the organization but didn’t really excel in his first year in the league.
Last season, he was able to reel in 16 catches for 151 yards and just one touchdown. Not too impressive when you look at just the numbers, but Criner was never really given the opportunity to shine, until now.
With the departure of wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey this offseason, the Raiders will now rely heavily on their young receivers in Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Rod Streater, and of course, Criner.
Moore and Ford are two proven guys that will likely have their jobs safe, but the job of the 3rd receiver is wide open for Criner. Streater has potential and has good hands, but Criner boasts a quick top speed and is extremely versatile.
His 4.54 40-yard dash time further proves his speed and quickness, and it’s something that is very helpful to have in a wide receiver. The ability to blow by cornerbacks and haul in deep passes for huge gains is something that not all NFL teams can boast.
So with all that Criner has to offer, just how high is his potential?
I believe that his potential definitely goes through the roof, as he is only 23 years of age and boasts a big body frame at 6’3″ and 221 pounds. With all the help that the Raiders need, it would really benefit them to develop Criner so he can become more of a star and get ready to handle big moments that come with starting at wide receiver.
Don’t look now, but a few years down the road, don’t be surprised if you see Criner making it big and catching numerous touchdowns for this young and upcoming Raiders squad.