Two years ago Louis Murphy was the rising star of the Raiders receiving corps. Now, he’s fighting just to be fourth on the depth chart.
Time moves fast in the NFL. All it took was a hamstring injury to take Murphy out of the mix and make him a forgotten man in Oakland. Well, that and the emergence of Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore. Now there’s an even newer threat in rookie Juron Criner who is already getting rave reviews after his first two OTAs.
2011 might be the last we see of Murphy in a silver and black jersey. After having a career year in 2010 the former Gator hit new lows last season. Playing in 11 games Murphy made just one start, had 15 grabs and found the end zone one time. Health was a huge factor but the reality is he’s never been consistently reliable.
On one play you’ll see Murphy make the most impossible catch look easy. Then on the next play he’ll drop a pass that even DHB would be ashamed of. Call it Louis Murphy’s Law. Truth be told, if the Raiders were sold on Murphy then they wouldn’t have kept drafting receivers every year.
The good news is that Murphy is a competitor with a team-first mentality. You’d better believe he’ll do whatever it takes to make the roster. The bad news is he could be caught in a numbers game.
DHB, Ford and Moore are all on the team. No doubt about that. Criner will get a spot because he’s a member of McKenzie’s first draft class. That leaves Murphy to fight off any camp invitees for a job then he’ll have to do battle with the men in front of him for a role.
No matter what happens coming out of camp the odds are 2012 will be the last year for Murphy as a Raider. But you never know what will happen during the season and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Murphy somehow works his way back into the mix.