Throughout the offseason, Just Blog Baby will be reviewing the performances of the players on the 2013 Oakland Raiders roster. This week’s evaluation comes from JBB Podcast cohost Rory Anderson. For more of Rory’s Raiders analysis tune into the Just Blog Baby Podcast each Friday at noon on blogtalkradio.com/justblogbaby.
After the 2012 NFL draft the Oakland Raiders brought in a deep field of undrafted free agents and among them was a 6’2 200 pound receiver from Temple University that nobody had ever heard of, including me. His senior season consisted of nineteen total catches but he averaged over twenty one yards per catch and had three touchdowns. He came from a program in the middle of a complete rebuild and he was in a run first, second, and third system. Temple ran the ball 80 percent of the offensive snaps. What put him on the map of some teams very late was his 4.37 second 40 yard dash at the combine and his blazing three cone drill, but that wasn’t enough to help his draft stock. Sports Illustrated wrote this as his draft profile:
“Positives: Nice-sized receiver who flashed skill the past two years. Quick, finds a way to get downfield and possesses solid eye/hand coordination. Gets vertical and adjusts in midair, displaying the ability to pull the errant throw from a crowd. Can make the tough over-the-shoulder catches downfield. Comes back to the ball to help out the quarterback and extends to make the reception away from his frame.
Negatives: Lacks true deep speed. Inconsistent on the college level and disappears for stretches.
Analysis: Streater possesses the physical skills and ability to be a fourth or fifth receiver at the next level. He must elevate his game and improve the consistency of his play to have a career in the NFL.”
Does anyone else read the “positives” and not understand how they came up with the “analysis”?
In his rookie season Streater eventually started for a team that could not run the ball for its life and had a passing game that was focused around Denarius Moore running deep or a tight end or back catching a dump off over the middle. He recorded 39 catches for 584 yards and three touchdowns. After the season he told the press he was going back home and was working on his route running and hand consistency while incorporating MMA into his workout and boy did he.
From day one you could see the progress he had made on tape and you could tell he was the most refined wide receiver the Raiders had on the roster. Sure Moore was more explosive, but Streater’s feet were impressive. He ran routes with precision hitting his mark every time and was able to get in and out of every break fluidly. It was apparent that he was focused and prepared to take a significant step in his game, and he did.
The Raiders passing game started off with a bang having success against the Chargers and putting up yards against the Broncos. Eventually the Raiders passing game began to sputter with Terrelle Pryor under center, but Streater was consistently putting up forty five yards a game. That’s not amazing, but it is about what you can hope for with the league’s worst passing game. Things changed once Matt McGloin took over. In the six games McGloin was the quarterback Streater totaled 425 of his 888 yards and the Raiders passing game was one of the most explosive in the NFL. At the end of the year he had 60 receptions for 888 yards and four touchdowns.
However what was most impressive wasn’t the stats he put up but the timing he had with McGloin. Every play he was where he was supposed to be and was there on time. He went up to get the ball and worked the slot very well. In fact, his ability to work the slot out of bunch formations reminded me of the great and Hall of Fame hopeful Tim Brown. His ability to play both inside and outside is what made him the force he was and that talent to be a consistent playmaker over the middle is something many teams covet and few player have. However, Rod Streater also possesses that talent and he showed it off consistently. Streater was a weapon running posts, crossers, and outs from the slot and he was able to go up to get the ball and block off defenders using his body to shield the ball. He did all the little things correctly and was a refreshing sort of receiver to see in silver and black.
Comparison First Two Years (Catches, Yards, TDs)
Dez Bryant: 45, 561, 6 and 63, 928, 9
Michael Crabtree: 48, 625, 2 and 55, 741, 6
Reggie Wayne: 27, 345, 0 and 49, 716, 4
Tim Brown: 43, 725, 5 and next full year over 1 start 49, 693, 7
Vincent Jackson: 27, 453, 6 and 41, 623, 3
The obvious area where Streater is lacking is touchdowns, however that says more about the ineptitude of the Raiders passing game in the red zone, but he has similar receptions and yards to some very talented receivers. Going into year three he has the opportunity to be a real factor for the Raiders.
2013 Grade: A
Did Streater have some drops? Yes, but I expect that from a young wide receiver. The fact is, he was an undrafted free agent and is stepping up being a consistent player outside for the Raiders. He does the little things very well and is on pace to be a legitimate number one wide receiver in this league for years to come. In fact, I believe next year he will be the first Raiders receiver to break the 1000 yard mark since Tim Brown and Jerry Rice a decade ago. He has the body, the route running skills, the improving hands, and versatility to be the Rod Smith and I believe he has that sort of potential. For all of Olson’s issues, he did find a way to use his best receiver once he had a consistent and competent passer.