Part one of the wide receiver competition was focused on the players battling for the number two and three wide receiver spots. Part two will be focused on the players battling for the number four and five spots as well as those trying to earn a roster spot.
The Raiders brought in Josh Cribbs via free agency this offseason. Although his biggest contribution will be in the return game, he has shown the ability to help as a wide receiver. Last season he only made seven receptions, but the previous year Cribbs caught 41 balls for 518 yards and four touchdowns. Cribbs is the leader for the fifth and possibly final wide receiver spot especially with his value in the return game.
Oakland kept five wide receivers on the final roster a season ago. However, this year they have some young talent making an impression. The Raiders used a seventh round choice in the 2013 NFL Draft on Brice Butler out of San Diego State. He fits the mold of what general manager Reggie McKenzie likes in his receivers. Butler is another big body at 6-3, 210 pounds. He has good speed and jumping ability, but he drops too many balls. He is certainly a candidate to find a way onto the Raiders final roster.
Two more undrafted free agents in Sam McGuffie and Conner Vernon have impressed in the offseason workouts. Vernon is the cousin of former NFL kick Al Del Greco. He is a tough receiver with very good hands. He lacks elite speed and quickness, but can make up for it with route running understanding. McGuffie is a former running back, who burst onto the scene in high school. His you tube videos of jumping over defenders were legendary. He has made the transition to wide receiver and uses that athleticism well. He meets all the athletic measures for the NFL. He can run, jump, and has strength. He is an ideal fit for the slot, but has the versatility to contribute at other positions. A comparison would be Percy Harvin but not near his level yet.
The Raiders are in good shape at the wide receiver position. Although they are young and inexperienced, they have talent. They will have some very difficult decisions to make after training camp. This will be a position to watch. The player's training camp performances will determine their stay with the team. Either way the Raiders will have tough evaluations to make and will have to cut some talented players.Tags: Al Del Greco, Brice Butler, Conner Vernon, Football, Harvin, Josh Cribbs, NFL, NFL Draft, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, Percy, Sam McGuffie, training camp