October 28, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore (17) catches a pass for a touchdown as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Stanford Routt (26) defends in the second quarter at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Is Denarius Moore a True No. 1 Wide Receiver?

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November 18, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore (17) holds off New Orleans Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) on the carry during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The New Orleans Saints defeated the Oakland Raiders 38-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

A lowly fifth-round draft pick (No. 148) of the 2011 NFL Draft, not too many people knew who WR Denarius Moore was when the Oakland Raiders selected the Tennessee product.

Aside from having top end speed, Moore was mainly targeted for his big play ability. A player that enjoyed a monstrous senior season while recording 47 receptions for 981 yards and nine touchdowns, Moore somehow slid to the fifth-round. However, the Raiders are not complaining as they clearly found their home-run threat.

During Moore’s rookie campaign, he recorded only 33 receptions, a little over two per game. But the limited touches proved to be worthy, as Moore averaged an astonishing 18.7 yards per reception. In addition, Moore racked up five touchdowns. Not bad for a fifth-round selection.

Moore also provided some much needed versatility on special-teams as he returned 25 punts for 216 yards (8.6 average). A do-it-all type of player, Moore was one of the lone bright spots in 2011.

Moore followed up a stellar rookie season with an even better year in 2012, as he caught 51 balls for 741 yards and seven touchdowns. And although his yards per reception decreased with a 14.5 average, Moore proved to be a true number one receiver. In 2012, Moore was consistently double teamed allowing others such as WR Rod Streater and TE Brandon Myers to excel. A player that can stretch the field vertically and take a top off the defense, Moore is by far the focal point of the passing game.

Despite putting up No. 1 receiving stats, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen benched the second-year player last season in a game against the Cleveland Browns, saying:

Yeah, took [Denarius Moore] out there at the end. Dropped a couple balls, and you know, we got to make plays when you’ve got opportunities. Both those guys… it wasn’t from a lack of effort, but we’ve gotta make plays when we’ve got an opportunity. We decided to play some of those younger guys. Denarius had a couple of opportunities to make plays and wasn’t able to make them. We decided to play some of those younger players and see what they can do.

Those were strong comments coming from their first year head coach, considering Moore was only in his second season. I mean, how much younger did he want to go? It was a move that I was not pleased with, but Moore stayed mum and just rolled with the punches, a sign of his maturity.

Now as the 2013 season is on the rise, Allen realizes that Moore needs to be a focal point of the offense, saying:

He’s a guy that we’re counting on being our No. 1 receiver. But we need all those guys. … At the end of the day, we’ll have five, maybe six receivers that have a chance to help this football team.

We just have to wait and see if Allen holds true to his word as Moore has all the ability to be a perennial Pro Bowl player in this league.

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