Reggie McKenzie arrived in Oakland with the reputation of having an eye for talent. Given the horrendous results of the season the real question is whether or not he can evaluate coaches. But that’s another story.
More to the point, one man has helped confirm McKenzie’s ability to unearth hidden gems. Ironically that man wasn’t even a member of McKenzie’s minimalist first draft class in Oakland.
Rod Streater arrived in the East Bay with little to no hope of making an NFL roster after an underwhelming career at Temple University. The speedy receiver had the traits of an NFL receiver with size and good hands but plenty of players have the skills and not the game. None the less the undrafted free agent made the cut and has since made his way into Oakland’s future plans.
In case you have checked out on the Raiders’ season in recent weeks then you’ve missed Streater’s game blossoming right before our eyes.
After never amassing more than 86 receiving yards in a single game during his collegiate career Streater has gone off for a combined 196 yards in the last two games as he gradually earns more snaps. Of course getting those extra reps on the field shouldn’t come as much of a shock considering Streater was a starter to begin the season.
Injuries forced Streater into action much earlier than the coaching staff would have liked. Early on it was a struggle for the rookie who did catch a TD in his fist NFL game but also lost a fumble and was largely a possession receiver catching passes on underneath routes.
Eventually Streater’s role was diminished once Denarius Moore was healthy but you knew it was only a matter of time until he got another shot.
The opportunities have presented themselves for Streater and he’s taken advantage finally showing his ability to be a big play receiver with a 64-yard TD against Cleveland and his first career 100-yard game against Denver.
Now aside from Miles Burris, McKenzie’s first draft class has yet to make much of an impact. Fellow rookie receiver Juron Criner has had his moments but his production is nowhere near the 429 yards and 3 TDs Streater has amassed.
So if you’re looking for something to keep hope alive it should be McKenzie’s ability to find talent in the most unorthodox places. If McKenzie was able to maximize his resources with the next-to-nothing draft picks he was handed his first year there is reason to be optimistic that he can do even better for the Raiders with a full compliment of picks and scouts on the lookout for more off-the-radar gems.