For Oakland Raider fans watching the first preseason game of the year, against the Arizona Cardinals, was an all to familiar sight. Wide receiver Chaz Schilens touched the ball for the first time in 2011, was tackled on an end around and limped to the sidelines.
The words that came to my mind and out of my mouth were, "Well, that didn't take long!"
Chaz Schilens came to the Raiders in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL draft. He was the 226th player selected that year. Schilens potential was obvious, and enough for the Raiders to take a shot with just a seventh round selection.
Schilens flashed potential in his first preseason and his size and speed had more than just Al Davis salivating at the promise he showed. Schilens stood 6'4" 225lbs. and had "Raider speed" with a blazing 4.38 time in the 40yd dash.
It was more than just the measurables that had us believing in the power of Chaz. He had good hands, solid route running and was more than willing to put himself in harms way to pull in an errant throw.......and there were a lot of them.
Fast forward to the present and you will see the same level of potential. You will see the same solid skill set that set him apart from the other receivers on the roster. You will see him in the same place all too often—on the sidelines.
Unfortunately, for Chaz and the Raider Nation his time is slipping through the hourglass and there are no lofty stats to reflect upon. Chaz has the athletic ability to be a dynamic piece of the Raiders offense for years to come, but can his body live up to his heart?
I fear that any more substantial injuries and the answer to that question may be with another team. The future of the Oakland Raiders receivers looks bright with the young talent they have and it might only be a matter of time before they no longer have a roster spot for someone who can only show potential.
For a little perspective I offer the following: 2009 was Schilens' best year as a pro, which isn't saying much. He finished with 29 receptions for 365 yards. In 2010 Darrius Heyward-Bey whom many would label a bust finished with 26 receptions for 366 yards.
I understand the difference between what a first round pick "should" be and what a gem someone can be in the seventh round, but it's tough to envision either receiver leading the group where they need to go.
Enter Denarius Moore.