At one point, Denarius Moore was considered a steal in the fifth round of the 2011 draft for the Oakland Raiders. Moore had a good rookie season with 33 receptions for 618 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games. Moore improved slightly in 2012, but it wasn’t the big jump everyone was expecting.
In 2013, Moore regressed instead of breaking out, and head coach Dennis Allen has openly questioned the young receiver’s consistency for over a year. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson cited Moore’s character, work ethic and maturity last August as the reasons for that inconsistency, per the Bay Area News Group's Jerry McDonald.
Then Andre Holmes came on strong at the end of last season, and Moore didn’t regain his starting spot over the final three weeks of the season. Moore was recently listed third behind Holmes and James Jones on the Raiders’ first depth chart of training camp.
Training camp depth charts are notoriously inaccurate. Depth charts are written in pencil at this stage, but Allen said Monday it’s still a good barometer of where the players are right now.
"Yeah, I think when you look at the depth chart, that’s kind of about where we are right now, but some of those competitions are pretty tight, so a lot of that is still to be determined," Allen said.
Moore may be one of the players fighting for a roster spot instead of a starting job in 2014. If there is good news for Moore, it’s that it seems like he’s responded to the challenge. Moore has been much more consistent in practice, and the media and Allen have taken notice.
"I’ve seen a lot of improvement out of him," Allen said Monday. "I think one of the big topics has kind of been a little bit of the inconsistency in the past, but I think he’s been a lot better in this camp.
"I do think Denarius is getting better as a football player, and he has in this camp."
Whether Moore has improved enough to save his roster spot is yet to be determined.