After passing on a wideout in the 2014 NFL Draft, general manager Reggie McKenzie has decided to take a gamble on a promising young wideout whose character issues have forced him out of town and onto the waiver wire. On Monday the Oakland Raiders made a move to bring in a wide receiver, claiming recently released Cleveland Browns wideout Greg Little according to multiple sources as well as Little’s twitter account.
Little, a former running back, is a former second round pick dating back to the 2011 NFL Draft who led the Browns in receptions for two years during his stay in Cleveland before being released by the team in the wake of the signings of Miles Austin and Earl Bennett as the Browns don’t seem to mind cutting Little loose even with Josh Gordon looking at a full year suspension for violating the league’s substance policy.
Little’s release came partly due to a problem with drops, but he also has character issues that have been well documented in both college with North Carolina where he was one of the players who were receiving improper benefits under the team’s agent scandal while he was at the university.
In addition to the NCAA violations, Little reportedly racked up 93 parking tickets while staying in Chapel Hill, not exactly the sign of maturity. What might have been the final straw for Cleveland was when Little was drag racing and totaled his car prior to last season driving 127 mpg in a 35 mph zone. That in addition to the drops and regression in play (which to be fair can be attributed to Cleveland’s quarterback carousel), likely led to Little’s demise in Ohio even with Josh Gordon looking at a long time on the sidelines.
Still the Raiders may feel that they can turn Little’s career around, something they did pretty well with Andre Holmes in 2013 after the former Cowboys wideout missed the first four games of the season. Little arguably has even more upside as the speedy and powerful wideout has the tools to succeed as evidenced by his strong rookie campaign where he caught 61 passes for 709 yards. With some strong expectations of professionalism out of Little if he wants to make the team and a consistent quarterback to work with the Raiders could have a potential diamond in the rough out of Little, the big question will be if Little is willing to change in order to become a successful veteran in the NFL. If he can do that this waiver claim could be one that we are revisiting come the season as a sneaky move from Reggie McKenzie that paid huge dividends, don’t be surprised if Little can contribute even after regressing for two seasons in Cleveland.