Greg Little Pickup Low-Risk, No-Reward Move by Raiders

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystMay 19, 2014

USA today

The Oakland Raiders got their quarterback of the present by trading for Matt Schaub earlier this offseason. They hope to have drafted their quarterback of the future in Fresno State's Derek Carr.

The Raiders also need players for those quarterbacks to throw to, and the Raiders added a young wide receiver on the cheap Monday.

The problem is that receiver has very little chance of catching the passes thrown his way.

In more ways than one.

As Bleacher Report NFL National Lead Writer Matt Miller tweeted Monday, the Raiders claimed wideout Greg Little off waivers:

The fourth-year pro and former second-round pick was waived by the Cleveland Browns last week, despite Cleveland's dire situation at wide receiver in light of Josh Gordon's potentially season-long suspension.

That would be warning flag No. 1.

The release was all the more surprising in some eyes given that Little's 2014 salary was less than $800,000.

There's warning flag No. 2.

Of course, most of the eyes belonging to those surprised people have never actually seen Little play.

Little caught 61 passes for 709 yards as a rookie, showing flashes of considerable talent along the way. He also finished second in the NFL that year with 14 drops, but there appeared to be more than a little potential present.

It never materialized. Little's yardage has decreased each of the past two seasons. As Marc Sessler of reports, only one player in the NFL ran more routes than Little in 2013, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Greg Little Career Stats
YearRec.YardsAvg.TDDropsPFF Rank*
20134146511.328111 (last)
*Per Pro Football Focus

One hundred two had more yardage.

The drops, meanwhile, became a running punchline that has, apparently, now traveled cross-country:

The off-field issues that have dogged Little all the way back to college continued as well. In November of 2011, Little told Tom Reed of The Northeast Ohio Media Group that he'd learned from the missteps that cost him an entire year of eligibility at North Carolina.

Then, in August of 2013, it was the same refrain while speaking with the Associated Press (via after he was ticketed for driving 127 miles per hour.

Less than a month later he was cited again, this time for running a stop sign and driving under a suspended license.

It's Greg Little in a nutshell. Plenty of talk about getting better on the field and making better decisions off it.

And absolutely nothing to back that talk up.

Granted, on some level it's not hard to see why the Raiders made the move. The Raiders aren't as bad off at wide receiver as the Browns or Carolina Panthers, but even with the addition of free agent James Jones the team is hardly stacked at the position.

Oakland WR Depth Chart
PlayerTop Rec.Top Yds.Top TD
Denarius Moore51 (2012)741 (2012)7 (2012)
Rod Streater60 (2013)888 (2013)4 (2013)
James Jones64 (2012)*817 (2013)*14 (2012)*
Juron Criner16 (2012)151 (2012)1 (2012)
* with Green Bay Packers

After all, there's currently a grand total of zero 1,000-yard receiving seasons on the roster. Little doesn't change that, but he's still only 24 and won't cost the Raiders much even if he makes the team.

However, he's also, by all indications that we've seen dating back to Chapel Hill, a malcontent wideout who can't catch.

Greg Little doesn't fix the problem. He creates another problem the Raiders don't need.


Gary Davenport is an NFL Analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter @IDPManor.

Greg Little's stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required)