Recently I posed a question to Raider Nation about the Oakland Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore. I asked if the Nation believed he could rise to the position of an elite receiver. The answers I received were mixed, to say the least, but there was one constant answer. Moore must elevate himself through practice, study, and through his play. Moore is now in his third season and so far, he is listed as the number one receiver on the depth chart. This, by itself, does not make him elite. However, after three days of training camp, Moore could be in danger of dropping to the number two position. Moore could lose his position to a second year undrafted free agent.
Many recall the 2012 training camp with Rod Streater making dazzling catches across the middle and deep down the sideline. So far in 2013, he picked up where he left off last year. Granted, he did not have a stellar performance during his rookie season, but he did have a decent season (39 receptions for 584 yards and 3 touchdowns). These statistics were nearly a mirror image to Darius Heyward-Bey’s (41 receptions for 606 yards and 5 touchdowns) and just under Denarius Moore’s (51 receptions for 741 yards and 7 touchdowns). The funny thing is, Streater averaged 15 yards per reception, which was better than both Heyward-Bey (Averaged 14.8 yards) and Moore (Averaged 14.5 yards).
Many would say that I am just comparing apples to oranges or even apples to apples. Look, the biggest downer to the 2012 season for Streater was the amount of dropped balls he had. It’s apparent that 2012 is behind him, because he is showing that he can learn from his mistakes. Making sure he catches the ball is one thing that Streater is doing well. He has been going up top over defensive backs on long throws and streaking across the middle to snag short passes. He has made some very impressive catches in the end zone from Matt Flynn, Tyler Wilson, and Terrelle Pryor while being blanketed by defenders.
The fact that he has shown improvement speaks to the volumes of time and effort that he spent in the off-season to prepare for 2013. Perhaps I should have asked if Rod Streater could emerge as Oakland’s number one receiver? Now I find myself wondering if we could have a dominant presence at the receiver position. One somewhat reminiscent of the Tim Brown era. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling Streater Tim Brown, but he is young, hungry, and has displayed very capable abilities at the receiver position. Still, wouldn’t it be something to have “a diamond in the rough?” What a story that would make, undrafted free agent turned elite receiver?
Sure, I’m getting way ahead of myself, and in some ways I get a bit over excited when I think of the possibilities. Truth is, I’m a blue-collar worker who would love to see a blue-collar kid become great, all while wearing the silver and black. Make no mistake, the Raiders have had their fair share of blue-collar greats, but I really like the way Streater handles himself. I really want to see him succeed. It’s early and this is the first padded practice of 2013. However, if Streater continues to improve and grow at his position we could be witnessing some very impressive things.