At 6'2" and 215 pounds, Derek Hagan has Oakland Raider size. Maybe his 4.45 40-yard dash time isn't classified as Raider speed for a wide receiver. Maybe Al Davis just likes playing the guys he chose to draft. Either way, Derek Hagan is getting the short-end of the stick during his stay in Oakland.
Hagan led all Raider receivers in receptions (12) and yardage (224) during the preseason. He looked like a perfect fit for a Raider team in desperate need of a reliable pair of veteran hands. Hagan ran solid routes and made plays when he had an opportunity, and yet he was inactive for Week 1.
It is true that Hagan missed practice earlier in that week due to a calf injury, but he was a full participant at practice on Friday, Saturday and Sunday according to Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune.
Hagan has more career catches than Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, and Nick Miller combined.
I also wonder how McFadden would benefit from the big-bodied Hagan blocking for him downfield rather than the 5'9" 180 pound Nick Miller.
I had hoped that I could believe head coach Hue Jackson when he said that the best players would play, but there were signs around the time of roster cuts demonstrating that this wasn't the case. Why would a Raider team that is thin in the secondary opt to cut Sterling Moore? Moore, an undrafted free agent who played well in the preseason and should have been kept for depth alone.
Then more troubling news came today. Steve Corkran from the Oakland Tribune reports that with Jacoby Ford's status for Sunday uncertain, Nick Miller has been running routes opposite of Darrius Heyward-Bey in practice. He believes that DHB and Schilens will be the starters, with Denarius Moore and Nick Miller coming off the bench.
Now I want everyone to know that I believe in Coach Jackson. I believe in what he is doing to help this team take the next step. I believe the Raiders will eventually be a bully and a team that demands respect with it's play on the field.
I cannot, however, find any reason that Nick Miller would be ahead of Derek Hagan on the depth chart. Coach Jackson said himself that Hagan was studying his playbook when other receivers were playing video games.
Hagan has good size and athletic ability. He has reliable hands and is a hard-working wide receiver who finds a way to make an impact in games.
I have yet to see Nick Miller do anything noteworthy during this season or any other. He had three catches last year for 40 yards. He also fumbled twice on the season in punt return duties, losing one of them.
Denarius Moore showed that he was a more explosive punt returner than Miller in the preseason. Every wide receiver we have on the roster is better than Miller, and I personally have no idea why he even made the 53-man roster.
But I digress. It's an article for another day to cover the men on this team who don't belong. For now, I will have to settle for being on the record as a Derek Hagan supporter, and continue to be hopeful that the Raiders figure it out and give this man a chance to help the team win.
Hey, at least they didn't cut him right?