We’re not even into training camp yet and already there is talk of yet another 5th round gem of a wide receiver that’s been unearthed by the Oakland scouting department. Last year it was Denarius Moore that stole the show with his preseason performances as a rookie. This time around it’s Arizona receiver Juron Criner that’s turning heads.
In the first OTA session that was open to the media Criner is reported to have put on a show featuring one 20-minute span in which he made four eye popping grabs.
Jerry McDonald reports that Criner’s early coming out party featured a sick sideline catch on a 60-yard bomb thrown by Terrelle Pryor, a tumbling TD catch on a 50-yard toss by Carson Palmer that found Criner coming up with the ball between DeMarcus Van Dyke and Tyvon Branch and an impressive adjustment on a route over the middle in which Pryor threw ball behind Criner yet he still managed reach back and bring the ball in.
While Criner could prove a real find as a 5th round pick his talent has been on display in the PAC-12 where he was among the most productive receivers in college football’s best offensive conference. Criner’s ball skills have always impressed it was his consistency that was lacking as a Wildcat.
None the less, the Raiders might have hit the lottery once again as it looks like yet another talented receiver will be in the mix for a sure to be heated camp battle.
As for the comparisons to Moore…we’ll have to wait on that. Moore did his preseason damage during contact drills as there were no OTAs due to the lockout last offseason. So it is a little unfair to put the two side by side at this moment. Also, Moore has the type of blazing speed Al Davis loved to use in order to stretch the field. While Criner did do work on deep balls today it still remains to be seen if he can be that type of threat in an NFL contest.
Perhaps the ultimate irony is that the men who helped make Criner a Raider are no longer with the organization after Reggie McKenzie’s recent restructuring. Either way, it appears as if we could have another weapon in the passing game. Stay tuned. Things are already getting interesting in Oakland.