In his second season in 2010, Louis Murphy led all Raiders receivers with 41catches and 609 yards.Now, its conceivable the former Florida Gator might be on the outsidelooking in as he battles newcomers for a spot on the suddenly receiver-deepRaiders roster.RELATED: Gutierrez -- Which returning receiver has the most to prove?
Juron Criner, the Raiders fifth round pick in the 2012 draft, turned headsat minicamp as a potential red-zone specialist with a big body (6-3, 221) andsure hands. Undrafted rookie Rod Streater also caught head coach Dennis Allenseye. Allen gave Streater reps with the first team offense during minicamp inJune.
Throw in the improving Darrius Heyward-Bey, the electric Denarius Moore andthe explosive Jacoby Ford, and suddenly, theres real competition at theposition. Plus, Moore and Ford contribute as kick and punt returners on specialteams. Murphy does not.
Murphy went down with a freak injury in Week 8 in the Raiders 59-14 rompover the Broncos in Denverin 2010. His collision with teammate Marcel Reece resulted in a bruised lung,and Murphys production hasnt been the same since.Raiders Insider Paul Gutierrez compiled the numbers: In 23 games before the lung injury, Murphy had caught 55 passes for 858yards (15.6 yards per reception) and five touchdowns. Since the injury, Murphyhas caught 35 balls for 513 yards (14.7 yards per catch) without a score in 18games.
RELATED: Louis Murphy 2011 game logs
A sports hernia operation prior to last season didnt help Murphy, either.Throw in the midseason change at quarterback when Carson Palmer was acquired,and thats a lot of moving parts. Murphy acknowledged in June that the situation was tough:Yeah man, it was rough. Jason (Campbell)went down and Carsoncame in off the couch, really. We were trying to adapt to him and learn histendencies, what he likes. Injured and trying to develop a relationship with a new quarterback is not arecipe for success, especially coming off a lockout-shortened training camp. Now, NFL.coms Gregg Rosenthal says an argument can be made that theRaiders receiving corps is now one of the deepest in the NFL. He also thinks Murphyis in danger of not making the team. After missing the first two weeks of OTAs this offseason with a hamstringinjury, Murphy was finally fully healthy at the Raiders mandatory mini-camp in June.Will Murphy rebound to his 2009 form and earn his spot on the roster, orcould he end up as a trade piece? The Raiders' salary cap issues have handcuffedthem in the free-agent market, and they are believed to looking for another runningback.
The competition for a job will begin in late July in Napa. Will Murphy be there, or has the Raidersbolstered receiving corps made him expendable?
Raiders Insider Paul Gutierrez contributed to this report
Geoff James is a web producer for CSNCalifornia.com