Spider-Man Signs: Richmond Wideout Arman Shields a Raider

M VHCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2008

A personal favorite, Arman Shields garnered attention earlier at this year's combine, posting good numbers and impressing the Oakland Raiders enough to select him in the fourth round (125th overall).

Oakland pulled the trigger despite the former Richmond Spider missing preliminary work with the team this off season due to nagging lower body injuries, including three straight with sore knee, and then again with a hamstring.

Not a surprise considering his time away from football.

Although Shields missed all but one game his senior year after tearing a knee ligament, he signed a contract today to officially make him a Raider.

With what seems like a lot of depth at the position (especially compared to last year), why would the Raiders waste time and money on a guy who seems to have so many durability issues?

Granted, he’ll likely be a project and a contributor on special teams, but Shields has serious potential to be an invaluable "move the chains" type of guy.

Like Ronald Curry.

A little too much like Ronald Curry, for some.

Both players have a history of injuries, and though Shields is strong, has decent speed, can run great routes, and has excellent hands, he doesn’t have Curry’s burst of explosiveness.

He’s not likely to run away from faster defensive backs, isn’t a great leaper, and needs to learn to fight for the ball more.

So, again, why bother?

Shields may never be the "X" man, but his production at Richmond showed he has the potential to be a solid contributor at the NFL level.

In 2005, Shields was part of an explosive Spider offense that racked up nearly 5,000 yards, averaging 381.3 a game, and 349 points.

Including five 100-plus-yard games, Shields hauled in an impressive 62 grabs for 842 yards and four touchdowns to finish that season.

He started 10 games in '06, but missed the finale with an injury.

Despite this, he ranked 29th in the country with an average of 5.4 catches per contest, including eight passes per game in the last three in which he participated.

Then came the knee injury the first game of his senior year.

It seemed the one teammates called "Spider-Man" would fall off teams radars completely.

Enter the combine.

Shields showed he was in good enough shape for the event in a big way, posting in the top-10 of all seven categories for receivers.

With serious skills already and the potential to add muscle with new strength coach Brad Roll (like Curry has this offseason), Shields seems a gamble worth taking.

Shields fits the mold not only at wideout this year, but for most of the Raiders team in '08.

Boom or bust.

If he stays healthy and isn’t forced into heavy rotation right away, I see not only boom, but "KA-BOOM!"

Shields has the potential to help out if the Raiders run game stalls on third down and, more importantly, in the red zone.

There's a lot of work to do before anointing Shields with superhero status, but he has the potential to become a valuable cog, but, like most of Oakland's receiving corps, only if he can stay healthy.

Originally posted on www.raidernationstation.com 07-23-08