Oakland Raiders 2015 Roster Preview: Seth Roberts
By Austin Gayle
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Seth Roberts has been one of the major highlights of the 2015 preseason, as he finished second in the NFL in receiving yards through the four exhibition games, but who exactly is this new playmaker for the Silver and Black?
Roberts began his football career at Maclay High School in Tallahassee, Florida, in which he was the captain of the varsity team both his junior and senior seasons, via uwaathletics.com. According to MaxPreps.com, Roberts brought in a total of 45 receptions for 1040 yards and 12 touchdowns in his final two years at Maclay, while he also averaged 16.7 points and 7.9 rebounds a game as a varsity basketball player his senior year.
Despite receiving interest from Miami (Oh), Samford, and the University of South Florida, Roberts did not receive an offer out of high school, but he did deicide to continue his football career at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Mississippi.
Roberts’ most impressive season with the Pearl River Wildcats came in 2010, as he led the team with 49 receptions for 733 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman. In his two years with the team, Roberts accumulated 105 receptions for 1,290 yards and 12 touchdowns, via prcc.edu.
Here is a look at some of Roberts’ highlights at Pearl River.
In 2012 Roberts continued to pursue his football dream at the University of West Alabama, a Division II school in the Gulf South Conference. In Roberts’ first year at UWA he finished as the team’s second leading receiver with 22 receptions for 312 yards and one touchdown. In the following season, Roberts brought in 40 receptions for 857 yards and 12 touchdowns, which led to Roberts being selected to the All-Gulf South Conference second team.
Though his statistics dramatically increased in his senior year with the Tigers, his production was still limited due to West Alabama’s overall offensive scheme. In both 2012 and 2013 West Alabama threw the ball less than 36 percent of the time.
Due to Roberts’ relatively low production throughout his college career, he wasn’t a highly regarded receiver coming out, and in turn, he did not receive an invite to the NFL combine. Roberts measured in at 6’2″, 196 pounds at West Alabama’s Pro Day, where he ran a 4.44 40-yard dash and leaped up 34 inches in the vertical jump, via nfldraftscout.com.
According to Levi Damien of SilverandBlackPride.com, Roberts’ production in his last year at West Alabama and his solid performance at his Pro Day ultimately led to some NFL scouts beginning to take notice of the small school stud, but the last-minute hype unfortunately wasn’t enough for him to get selected in the 2013 NFL draft.
After signing with the Oakland Raiders as a priority Undrafted Free Agent shortly after the draft, Roberts spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad. Although the practice squad isn’t exactly where wanted to end up in the NFL, Roberts still took advantage of the opportunity and worked towards making the 53-man roster everyday.
“My head is, every day, coming in with the same mindset as if I was on the 53,” Roberts said just after he had been announced to the practice squad in 2014 via Raiders.com. “Even when I’m on the sideline, just take everything in as if I was in the position. That’s how I look at it.”
Now 24-years-old, Roberts is entering his second year in the NFL officially on the Raiders’ 53-man roster.
“Seth has done a great job with his opportunities,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said, via Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. “The No. 1 thing we wanted to do was create competition, create opportunities for guys to show what they’re capable of. I think he has taken full advantage of that. He has had a really nice camp.”
Roberts accumulated 15 receptions for 249 yards and one touchdown throughout the preseason, his most impressive performance coming in Week 4, in which he brought in seven balls for 110 yards and a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks.
The former big-play receiver at West Alabama is beginning to reappear in the NFL, as he has proven that he can both stretch the defense down the field and turn short routes into big gains with his ability after the catch.
Although Oakland currently has receivers like Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree projected to start ahead of him, Roberts is still in contention for the No. 3 or 4 receiver spot on the depth chart.
It is quite optimistic that a strong preseason could lead to an unproven receiver finding insurmountable success in basically his first season in the NFL, but Roberts is committed to making his presence known as an Oakland Raider.
“Every day I came out ready to work,” Roberts said, via Bair. “I did my best and tried to finish strong. I want to be a part of this team and I want to be a Raider. That’s why I go out and work hard.”
With much of the hard work still ahead of him, Roberts will have his hands full attempting to make an impact for Oakland in 2015, but he has fought through adversity before and he always seems to come out on top.