Grading Raiders wide receivers

Grading Raiders wide receivers
January 10, 2013, 10:15 am
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Denarius Moore improved his catch-target ratio, but still had a disappointing season for the Raiders. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

We are into our review of the Raiders' 4-12 season by looking at each position group and assigning grades. Up next -- the wide receivers…

Wide receivers
Denarius Moore -- 51 catches, 115 targets, 741 yards, 14.5 average, 7 touchdowns
Darrius Heyward-Bey -- 41 catches, 80 targets, 606 yards, 14.8 average, 5 touchdowns
Rod Streater -- 39 catches, 73 targets, 584 yards, 15.0 average, 3 touchdowns
Derek Hagan -- 20 catches, 36 targets, 259 yards, 13.0 average, 0 touchdowns
Juron Criner -- 16 catches, 34 targets, 151 yards, 9.4 average, 1 touchdown

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Can you say, "regression?" This was the year the Raiders' young and speedy receiving corps was supposed to take that next step and be one of the more dangerous units in the NFL. But a preseason Lisfranc injury Jacoby Ford suffered threw a wrench into those plans. Then Denarius Moore, who was bothered all season by a hamstring injury he suffered in June mini-camp, pulled a disappearing act and was oftentimes not only not on the same page as quarterback Carson Palmer, but not in the same zip code. Still, he did have a stretch of TD catches in five of seven games, including three straight straight. Darrius Heyward-Bey, hospitalized after a Week 3 hit against Pittsburgh, started dropping balls again. Rookie Juron Criner never truly materialized into the red-zone threat the Raiders envisioned when they drafted him in the fifth round. In fact, you could say undrafted rookie Rod Streater was the team's most dependable/consistent pass-catching wideout, even if veteran Derek Hagan had the best catch-target ratio at 55.6 percent. Interestingly enough, even though Moore had 51 catches on his 115 targets, his percentage of 44.4 was actually better than last year's mark of 43.4. Heyward-Bey's rate dropped to 51.3 from 55.7. As a team, the Raiders had the No. 9-ranked receiving game in the NFL (of course, that includes passes caught by everyone on the roster) with an average of 268.2 receiving yards per game, but they were just 18th at 11.4 yards per catch. That's a direct result of Oakland's version of the West Coast Offense under Greg Knapp and its shorter passing game. Consider: the Raiders' average of 257.4 receiving yards per game last year ranked just 11th, but they were tied for third at 13.1 yards per catch. So where do the Raiders receivers go from here? Well, receivers coach Ted Gilmore was retained, so apparently coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie think there is unfinished business.
Grade: D+