Last season, the Oakland Raiders watched as their starting tight end and fullback finished first and second on the team in receiving yards. This year, the plan is for a receiver to take the cake as the top target.
That’s where Denarius Moore comes in.
A third-year receiver and former fifth-round pick, Moore has spent the last two seasons playing an integral part in the Raiders’ passing game. After bursting onto the scene as a rookie with 33 catches, 618 yards and five touchdowns, Moore took another step forward in 2012 by amassing 51 grabs, 741 yards and seven touchdowns. With Darrius Heyward-Bey out of the picture, Moore has already been penciled in as Oakland’s top receiver heading into 2013.
“He’s a guy that we’re counting on being our No. 1 receiver,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said regarding Moore.
With the speed to stretch the field and the athleticism to make highlight catches, Moore has the potential and skill set to be a dynamic receiver for the Raiders. The lingering issue, though, is who exactly will be getting Moore the ball this season.
As of right now, Matt Flynn sits atop the Raiders’ quarterback depth chart. Considering what he’s shown through OTAs and minicamp, his grasp on the starting gig is flimsy at best. While Tyler Wilson, Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin will all be jockeying for positioning on the depth chart, the Raiders will suffer from lackluster quarterbacking in 2013.
Although Flynn might be the starter, he doesn’t have the arm strength to take advantage of Moore’s deep-ball abilities. Meanwhile, Wilson is an unproven rookie who has the big arm, but is coming off a rough senior season. Pryor isn’t a starting-caliber passer and McGloin still has a lot of ground to gain as an undrafted rookie.
It’s going to be a tough year for the Raiders, especially if the quarterback situation doesn’t clear up by the time the regular season rolls around. No matter who’s under center, though, expect Moore to be bailing them out all year long with his outstanding athleticism and knack for making big plays.