Scott Bair's Raiders Breakdown: Receivers
No. 1 receiver Denarius Moore was targeted a team-high 115 times last season and led the Raiders with seven receiving touchdowns. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Editor’s note: Insider Scott Bair will be providing position-by-position breakdowns each day leading up to Raiders training camp. The full squad will report on July 24, with the first practice day scheduled for July 26. This morning, Scott focuses on the receivers.
Who they have: Denarius Moore, Rod Streater, Jacoby Ford, Josh Cribbs, Juron Criner, Brice Butler, Andre Holmes, Sam McGuffie, Conner Vernon, Greg Jenkins, Isaiah Williams, Tray Sessions
Who they lost: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Derek Hagan
Looking back: Moore emerged as the team’s No. 1 receiver last season, totaling 51 receptions for 741 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns. He made strides in route running and that consistency helped establish him as a favored target for 2012 quarterback Carson Palmer. Heyward-Bey was a major threat in a competent passing attack, but 41 receptions for 606 yards and five touchdowns couldn’t prevent him from getting released to clear salary cap space. Streater had a strong rookie season (39-584-3), and was given an opportunity because Ford missed the entire season with a foot injury.
Overall outlook: The receiver corps could be as dynamic as any in the NFL, but that hope hinges on Ford’s health. The speedster has struggled with injury the past two seasons, hindering vast potential flashed in 2010, when 11 of his 25 receptions exceeded 20 yards and 19 went for a first down. Moore will be the No. 1 guy, but the entire group must perform to assist new quarterback Matt Flynn in his first year with the team. Streater should be more active this season and earn starts and receptions he wasn’t getting in 2012. Overall, the group must be better to account for the loss of tight end Brandon Myers, who signed with the New York Giants this offseason.
Camp competition: There will be a fight for roster spots among the receivers, but battles will be waged on special teams. Receivers down on the depth chart must excel in the kicking game to stay on the roster, which has three locks for five or six roster spots. Criner will get a long look this camp, especially with Hagan allowed to join Tampa Bay as a free agent. Seventh-round pick Brice Butler will get a chance to compete, as will Holmes, claimed off waivers from New England.
In-line images provided by USA Today