Oakland Raiders: 5 Rookie Storylines Heading into OTAs
While any group of rookies is sure to have a slew of storylines that come with them to OTAs, those storylines are magnified when the team is in desperate need of help.
Welcome to Oakland.
With a full group of rookies headed to camp, there are a number of things to look for in the next few weeks that could have a major impact not just on the 2013 season, but well beyond.
How Good Is Tyler Wilson?
While any rookie quarterback will attract attention heading into the preseason, a guy like Tyler Wilson will attract more than his fair share.
For starters, there isn't a proven starter ahead of Wilson on the depth chart.
While Matt Flynn is the presumed starter and Terrelle Pryor the assumed backup, neither guy has established himself as a surefire lock for either position.
With Wilson, Oakland got a guy who is just 12 months removed from being one of the highest ranked college quarterbacks in the 2013 draft. A disastrous 2012 campaign, however, derailed those hopes and dropped him to Oakland in the fourth round.
So as camp takes place in the next few weeks, I think the biggest storyline in Oakland will be Wilson and the question of just how quickly he can develop.
Is Latavius Murray Ready to Break Out?
Last year, Alfred Morris gave every under-the-radar rookie running back something to dream for.
Can Latavius Murray live up to those dreams?
Murray, the sixth-round pick from Central Florida made a strong impression on the team in rookie camp with his big body and ability to catch the ball.
The question, however, is whether that will translate into the professional game. After all, Murray only ran for 1,000 yards once in his four-year college career.
The biggest thing standing between Murray and his dreams, however, is Darren McFadden.
If there's one position on the roster that has an established starter, it's running back, and so, whether Murray every sees the field on a regular basis remains a large question mark.
Then again, any Raider fan could tell you one thing: No backup running back should expect to be on the bench for long.
Could Sio Moore Be a Diamond in the Rough?
As an Oakland Raiders fan, no player outside of D.J. Hayden seemed as intriguing on draft weekend as Sio Moore.
Moore, dubbed by ESPN's Mel Kiper as his favorite selection of the entire draft (h/t Levi Damien of SB Nation), was the 66th pick of the draft out of Connecticut.
The biggest thing we learned about Moore was that the Oakland coaches, who handled him at the senior bowl, absolutely fell in love with him.
At 6'1" and 245 pounds, Moore has a great build for an outside linebacker in a league that is currently bursting with pass-rushing linebackers.
Add onto that the fact that Moore is coming in with a chip on his shoulder, and Oakland may have found themselves a gem.
Is DJ Hayden Going to Make an Immediate Impact?
With the No. 3 selection, Reggie McKenzie was ready to select D.J. Hayden from Houston.
Fortunately for Oakland, the Raiders were able to trade back 10 spots in the draft while still getting the guy they wanted.
Just months removed from a life-threatening injury, Hayden has everything you want in a franchise player at cornerback.
My favorite part of the equation, however, is Charles Woodson.
With a young guy like Hayden, a key part of the situation is who he's going to be listening to. Fortunately, I don't know if there's a better guy in the league to be mentoring Hayden than the one they've got in Woodson.
One thing that helps Hayden is the lack of impact players ahead of him on the depth chart.
At the moment, there are just two proven corners on the roster—Mike Jenkins and Tracy Porter—but neither is a guy who is guaranteed anything this season.
Is Brice Butler This Year's Surprise?
For two straight years, the Oakland Raiders have discovered a wide receiver either late in the draft or through free agency whom no one saw coming.
Two years ago, it was Denarius Moore in the fifth round, and last year, it was Juron Criner in the sixth round and Rod Streater as a free agent.
Could Brice Butler continue the trend?
Butler, a seventh-round pick from San Diego State, was actually the 13th-ranked wide receiver coming out of high school in 2008 before floundering in college.
After three years at USC with just 41 catches, Butler transferred to San Diego State and caught 24 passes as a senior.
While none of that is overwhelming, Butler still has a 6'3" frame and speed to get behind the defense—two things that, as the experts say, you can't teach.