Johnny Holton Closes in on Fifth Wide Receiver Spot
Entering the 2016 season, Oakland had just four veteran receivers returning to the roster, which in turn, ignited a fierce competition between a slew of undrafted free agent wide receivers both in training camp and now into the preseason. With a lot of the love going to former Colorado State receiver Joe Hansley and Duke’s Max McCaffrey early in the offseason, Johnny Holton, a former JUCO transfer that ended his college career with Cincinnati, has undoubtedly worked his way to the top.
Having started his NFL career as an UDFA, Holton was looking at an uphill battle to earn a roster spot with Oakland and continue to keep his dreams alive, but he is no stranger to a challenge.
Holton, one of 11 children, decided against playing football in high school in order to help support his family, which as a result, forced him to take the long way to the NFL. Having little experience, Holton was unable to put up jaw-dropping numbers both at JUCO and with Cincinnati, but he still managed to draw significant interest from multiple NFL teams likely because of his sheer athleticism and work ethic.
With the Bearcats, Holton registered 46 receptions for 892 yards and 10 touchdowns in 20 career games, per CFBStats.com.
Now with Oakland, Holton has brought in five receptions for 78 yards, including his three catches for 54 yards that he logged against Tennessee. With those three, Holton looked impressive in his ability to create early separation and make plays after the catch, while he also showed off some intense concentration with his one-handed catch behind the back of Titans cornerback Kalan Reed in the fourth quarter.
Also, Holton showed some of his explosiveness and burst on an end-around that he took for 14 yards.
With Oakland expected to give their starters few snaps in their final preseason game on Thursday, look for Holton to continue to make a name for himself as he takes on a heavy workload to closeout the preseason.
Next: Preseason Week 3 Takeaways