Raiders Full Position Breakdown and Depth Chart Analysis at Wide Receiver
The Oakland Raiders’ training camp and preseason work will be all about competition, and the wide receiver spot will be one of the more intriguing ones to watch.
This group is still quite young and inexperienced but certainly doesn’t lack talent or potential.
Upgrades made at the quarterback position will likely help their development and production, as should a second consecutive season in the same offensive scheme.
Here is a look at the Oakland Raiders’ wide receiver depth chart and how it currently projects with OTAs now well underway.
No. 6: Juron Criner / Brice Butler
At this point, it would be tough to envision the Raiders keeping any more than six receivers on the final 53-man roster heading into the 2014 campaign.
As such, the competition for that last spot should be an interesting one, and it could come down to Juron Criner and Brice Butler.
Late-round draft selections in 2012 and 2013, respectively, Criner and Butler created an early buzz by making plays in training camp.
However, neither thus far has turned that ability into in-game production, and the one to do that in this year’s preseason action could earn himself the roster spot.
Butler likely held the early advantage given that he is entering only his second season, but Criner’s standout performances at this year’s OTAs certainly could have changed that.
The Raiders likely don’t want to part ways with either player just yet, but competition at the position and limited roster space just may force them to do so.
No. 5: Greg Little
Claimed after being waived by the receiver-needy Cleveland Browns, Greg Little joining Oakland didn’t seem to be all that significant of an offseason move for the team.
However, Little will have a good opportunity to win a roster spot and work his way into the rotation, despite the solid competition already in place at the receiver spot.
While he struggled over the last few seasons in Cleveland, Little has enough physical ability that taking a chance on him could be well worth the risk for the Silver and Black.
As with other additions the Raiders have made this offseason, Oakland is hoping that a change of scenery will do him well, and that Little can recapture the promise he displayed early in his career.
Having what should be a steadier quarterback situation should help quite a bit, but getting past his issues with drops is the main concern.
Either way, Little enters the new season still just 25 years old, and the Raiders taking a chance on him is certainly a low-risk, high-reward move.
No. 4: Andre Holmes
Andre Holmes finally got his opportunity to contribute in the second half of the 2013 season, and he ended up arguably the most productive pass-catcher on the Raiders roster by the end.
Serving a four-game suspension to start the season certainly set him back, but a seven-catch, 136-yard performance on Thanksgiving Day against the Dallas Cowboys earned him the increased role he’d hold down the stretch.
The 6'4" Holmes has the speed to separate and the size to consistently win over smaller defenders, often making plays on the ball that other Oakland receivers just aren't physically capable of making.
At this point, he likely sits fourth on the depth chart due to the experience of the other receivers he's competing against, but it would be no surprise to see him quickly move up the ranks like he did toward the end of last season.
Staying on the field is the key, but getting consistent snaps could allow Holmes to continue developing into a reliable target in what should be an improved Raiders passing game this year.
No. 3: Denarius Moore
After bursting onto the scene as a rookie in 2011, Denarius Moore’s production has grown more inconsistent over the past two seasons.
However, much of that can be attributed to the different ways in which he has been utilized within the Raiders offense. To get back to the player he was in his first season, where he averaged 18.7 yards per reception, Moore needs to be used as a vertical threat.
He has the speed to separate downfield and, although he is not the tallest receiver, he has demonstrated the ability to catch the ball at its highest point and make catches in traffic.
Taking advantage of his speed and ball skills downfield should ensure that Moore securs this third spot on the depth chart; limiting him to underneath and intermediate routes could see him move down.
No. 2: James Jones
One of the Raiders’ more important free-agent additions, James Jones adds some much needed experience to the receiving corps.
Of course, his veteran presence is a welcomed addition from a leadership perspective, but he has long proven capable of producing on the field as well.
Jones put up a career high receiving yards with 817 in 2013 and a career-high 14 touchdowns the year prior.
Likely to see more snaps with the Raiders than he did as part of a crowded Green Bay Packers receiver group, Jones could be in for another productive year in 2014.
Whether it comes as what we consider the No. 1 or No. 2 receiver, Jones should have a starting role in the Oakland offense, and it would be no surprise to see the veteran become the most reliable target for Raider quarterbacks this season.
No. 1: Rod Streater
Since joining the Raiders as an undrafted free agent out of Temple, Rod Streater has steadily developed into one of the team’s more promising young players.
He definitely is a player to watch in 2014.
He was easily the Raiders’ most consistent pass-catcher throughout the 2013 season, tallying 888 yards on 60 receptions and heads into this season as the likely No. 1 receiver.
Streater has proven capable of creating separation at a number of spots on the field, often able to make difficult and contested catches when needed as well.
He, like the others in this group, should benefit significantly from improved quarterback play in 2014, and he could end up putting up career-best numbers as a result.
Continuing his impressive development will be about getting reps, and however the depth chart works out, he should be among the starters in this group, having plenty of opportunities to do just that.