Latest word on JaMarcus Russell’s self-scheduled training camp with his receivers is that only three receivers showed up: Louis Murphy, who is an unsigned rookie draft pick, Will Franklin, a former fourth-round draft pick who has since been released by the Chiefs and Lions, and journeyman Todd Watkins.
The problem is the Raiders don’t have a leading receiver and lack veteran leadership. It would have been nice to see Zach Miller (or at least one tight end) make the trip to Alabama, where Russell has foot the bill to bring in the invitees.
At this point, it would not make sense for Raiders No. 1 pick Darius Heyward-Bey to participate. He is unsigned and is attempting to recover from injury—which raises additional doubts about his usability and durability for the upcoming season.
Javon Walker is somewhat of an enigmatic joke. He has plenty of abilities as an athlete when healthy, but who can take this guy seriously? After all, his legacy is being sprawled on the Las Vegas pavement by muggers and then failing to deliver on the field last year with mega contract in hand.
Johnnie Lee Higgins is busy watching Shakira videos and practicing new hip shaking moves for when he feels like gloating and taunting the opposition regardless of the score.
Chaz Schilens appears to be the only guy willing to step up and be a professional. He must be too busy in July, or just unwilling to risk injury in Russell’s camp to want to participate.
Unless Arman Shields surprises us, he is just another wasted draft pick and bust.
I don't recognize any of the other guys on the roster but maybe one of them will step up when training camp opens in a few weeks.
As for the attendees of Russell's camp, Murphy is a good prospect. We’ll wait and see what he can do.
Franklin is undersized at 6'0". He is a speed guy (surprise). If he sticks through opening day cuts, it is because the Raiders' wide receiver corps is depleted due to injury.
Watkins is a really gutsy receiver with good hands, but his problem has been getting the necessary game reps to work himself into the lineup. He is also a bit undersized, but look at what Wes Welker can do or the legacies of other smaller, faster receivers.
Word is that Watkins has run afoul of Lord Al for some reason, so he has remained buried on the depth chart or inactive. Why Al chooses to retain players he does not like is an enduring mystery.
It’s just another familiar refrain in Oaktown.
So, the JaMarcus Russell-sponsored training camp doesn’t appear to be a worthwhile exercise thus far.
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