Oakland Raiders Top 5: Early Training Camp Battles

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Nov 30, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Brice Butler (12) catches a pass during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. St. Louis defeated Oakland 52-0. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Brice Butler vs. Andre Holmes/Kenbrell Thompkins

Due to the offseason additions of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and the return of Rod Streeter from injury, the Raiders’ top three receivers on the depth chart are presumably set in stone, but a fierce competition is taking place for the No. 4 receiver spot on the roster.

Oakland’s leading receiver in yards in 2014 Andre Holmes began the offseason as the favorite for the role, but his inconsistency is becoming a major reason for concern.

“Receiver Andre Holmes has been inconsistent thus far, making great catches and easy drops,” according to Bair.

At 6’4″, 223 pounds Holmes has been constantly valued as a player with a lot of potential due to his size and athleticism, but his inconsistent route running ability and overall lack of soft hands may just be a little too much downside for Oakland to take another chance on him in 2015.

Another receiver in the mix for the No. 4 receiver spot is Kenbrell Thompkins. The former 2013 UDFA for the New England Patriots had little production in his first year in Oakland, as he registered just 15 receptions for 209 yards in the 12 games he played with the Raiders in 2014, but he has apparently been putting on a show in training camp.

Though Thompkins hasn’t been the only Oakland wide receiver making acrobatic catches in training camp, for third-year receiver out of San Diego State University Brice Butler has also been making his presence known over social media.

Butler had 21 receptions for 280 yards and two touchdowns in 2014, none of which looked like that. If he can continue to bring this kind of excitement through the preseason, he should be named the No. 4 receiver on the depth chart.

With Holmes being the only one of the three appearing to struggle during the first few practices of training camp, it’s easy to believe that the true competition is between Thompkins and Butler, but there is still quite a while before Week 1 one of the regular season. Holmes undoubtedly has some catching up to do, but a rotation will be in place until one starts to really separate himself from the pack.