Raiders' offseason receiver competition will be fierce

Raiders' offseason receiver competition will be fierce
May 22, 2014, 11:45 am
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Denarius Moore led the Raiders with five touchdowns last year; Rod Streater led the team with 888 receiving yards. (USATSI)

The Raiders are a team always in search of more talent, a point proved with last week’s waiver claim on ex-Cleveland receiver Greg Little.

Odds are he won’t be a present or future No. 1 receiver in the Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson or even Sammy Watkins mold, but he will add competition to a muddled depth chart heading into the meat of the team's offseason program.

The Raiders have receiving talent without a clear-cut No. 1 -- they wanted to draft such a prospect, but he never fell appropriately to them -- but there’s more worthy talent than spots on the 53-man roster.

The receiver group should be particularly competitive in training camp when hierarchy’s are generally formed. Veteran free-agent acquisition James Jones is a virtual lock for a starting spot. Beyond that, there’s sorting to be done.

“We have a lot of great guys in that room with a lot of talent and I’m excited to be a part of it,” new Jones said in late April. “I don’t know if it’s No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3, but I’m excited to be a part of it, excited to help those guys and go out and make plays on the field.”

Generally speaking, the Raiders keep five receivers on the 53-man roster. They could keep six if some help on special teams, but few frontrunners are slated to. Here’s a quick look at the participants vying for spots:

James Jones: Imported from Green Bay to be a position-group leader. Virtual lock for a starting spot.

Rod Streater: Flirted with 1,000 yards last season and continues to show improvement as a deep threat and possession receiver.

Denarius Moore: Maddeningly inconsistent, yet explosive playmaker when he does the little things right. He’s entering a contract year, which may do wonders for his motivation and overall production.

Andre Holmes: A tall, lanky playmaker who can stretch the field, Holmes showed flashes of quality last season, and needs to do more in 2014.

Greg Little: Was a No. 2 receiver with declining production and reliability. He has real talent but must earn his stripes on a new team. If he straightens out issues, Little could be a factor in the 2014 passing game.

[RELATED: Raiders claim WR Little]

Brice Butler: Showed promise in the preseason, but a few early mistakes caused the Raiders to pull on an already short leash.

Juron Criner: Criner, a productive college receiver, must fight to retain his roster spot. He was rendered inactive most games last year before being placed on injured reserve.

Noel Grigsby, Mike Davis, et al.: The undrafted free agents and fringe prospects must stand out during camp and beat one of the more established players. That won’t be an easy task.

 

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