Of the many free agents to exit the East Bay this offseason few will elicit as many reactions as Chaz Schilens. Schilens was everything and nothing to the Raiders. A diamond in the rough that flashed all the potential of an All-Pro yet had the production only a practice squad lifer would envy. Injuries robbed Schilens of the chance to showcase his skills. Emerging young talents like Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford made him expendable.
Chaz has now taken his talent to the Big Apple where his greatest miracle will be trying to produce as a wide receiver with Mark Sanchez taking the time to occasionally complete pass between photo shoots. Best of luck with that, Chaz.
The Raiders have moved on. Such is the nature of pro football. Reggie McKenzie has no desire to continue the projects of Al Davis. However every team needs some type of prospective talent to mold. Without that talent evaluators would only have to scan NFL draft websites instead of actually doing their jobs.
One man that McKenzie has kept around as a pet project of sorts is Eddie McGee. The quarterback turned receiver flashed enough potential to earn a spot on the practice squad last season. Whatever it was the former coaching regime saw in McGee must have meant something to the current one.
Currently McGee still has roster spot. He was recently seen in the now infamous pic Tweeted by Darrius Heyward-Bey in which McGee stands next one Terrell Owens. That post-workout pic made some minor headlines this week because of unemployed diva amid the Raider receiving corps.
What got little to no play at all was Carson Palmer, who has been working out with many of his receivers including McGee, comparing the project pass catcher to Chaz Schilens.
To be sure McGee has a long way to go until the Schilens comparisons can begin. First and foremost McGee will have to make the active roster and actually catch a few balls in an NFL game. Practice squad heroics mean about as much as high school accomplishments in the NFL.
As far as similarities go, both Schilens and McGee are built the same way. McGee measures out at 6’3” and has good speed for a big receiver. During his pro day back at the University of Illinois McGee ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, somewhat similar to what Schilens clocked for San Diego State.
Beyond that we haven’t seen enough of McGee aside from limited snaps last preseason. We don’t know if he is anything close to being as good a route runner as Schilens or if he attacks the ball in the air. But I’ll take Palmer’s evaluation at face value.
No matter McGee’s potential he’s got a tough road to climb in order to get into the mix in Oakland. Schilens was already established as a legit contributor and even he was pretty much an afterthought despite being healthy last season.
With Schilens out of the picture McGee has a clear path to the active roster. Unless another Derek Hagan type shows up in camp and impresses enough to get a contract. Such is life in the NFL for an undrafted talent like McGee. Chances are few and far between so all this could be for not if we never see him in a regular season competition.