The Oakland Raiders have loaded up on wide receivers to compete for playing time in 2014. It will be one of the most interesting positions to keep an eye on as training camp and the preseason approaches. One of the most intriguing players to watch is wide receiver Juron Criner. Criner burst onto the scene for the Raiders as a rookie in the offseason workouts, but ended his second year on the injured reserve.
It was a tumultuous road for Criner since impressing in workouts as a rookie. The fifth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, appeared in 12 games his first season catching 16 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. He came back in 2013, but was surpassed on the depth chart by Brice Butler and Andre Holmes. Head coach Dennis Allen called Criner's practice habits and consistency into question. The result was Criner only appeared in one game in 2013, catching three passes for 32 yards. He ended the season on the injured reserve in late November with a shoulder injury.
For 2014, Criner is in a position where he must harness that consistency to remain in the team's plans. At 6-3, 220 pounds, Criner is a big target, who showed some flashes early. He made some highlight reel catches in the preseason as well as his rookie season. Oakland tried to use that size in the redzone, but it never materialized. Now, with the surplus of competition at wide receiver, Criner will have to take his game to the next level. He has shown enough to entice consideration this offseason and into training camp, but questions remain. This will be a situation to monitor as the season comes closer.
Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Andre Holmes, Brice Butler, Dennis Allen, Football, injury, Juron Criner, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders