Johnny Holton and K.J. Brent
Now that Max McCaffrey, Joe Hansley, and Nate Palmer are gone, we’re left with Brent, Mickens and frontrunner Johnny Holton for the fifth wideout spot. Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts are locks to start, and Andre Holmes has the confidence of the coaching staff. Mickens, well – he’s pretty much a done deal as well after a couple of fumbles and few plays in the receiving game.
It’s likely between Holton and Brent at this point.
Holton has been by far the most consistent, yet the most explosive, of the group fighting for the spot. He appeared to tweak his foot against the Titans but is fine and excited to show one more time what he can do.
Holton has impressed Derek Carr with his work ethic and quick adjustment to the offense. Carr told Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area “I told Johnny when we hit training camp, I said, ‘You are the most improved player this whole offseason,’” starting quarterback Derek Carr said. “I have never seen someone jump that much since Seth, since I saw Seth (Roberts) make that jump.”
Brent hasn’t made as many plays but did impress Carr from the beginning. “His route-running ability was really good. Coming in as an undrafted guy, you never know what the story was. He shows up and runs his first route and I thought, ‘How did that guy go undrafted? At least not get picked up late!’” Carr told Bair in the same article.
Brent has the size advantage at 6’4, 207 pds, while Holton is 6’1 and 190 pds. Brent is also younger at 23 than Holton, 25. Holton, though, is much quicker and has better straight-line speed, and his 19.5 ypc last year at Cincinnati show what a ridiculous playmaker he is when he gets a chance.
It all boils down to production, and Holton leads in that department thus far both as a receiver and returner. Holton has 5 catches on 9 targets for 78 yds, and three kick returns for a 29.0 yd average.
Brent has 3 catches on 10 targets for 54 yds, and is not a factor in the return game.
Both need a big game, but with his production and ability as a returner, Holton should be able to overcome the size and age advantage unless Brent absolutely explodes tonight.
Whoever doesn’t make the roster will be practice squad material, that’s for sure.
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