Seeing the way their quarterback situation is at the moment, the Oakland Raiders aren’t in a good position to field a competent passing game anytime soon.
Despite their quarterback deficiencies, there’s a particular pass-catcher who could see a significant rise in his stock by the end of the 2013 campaign. That would be second-year receiver Juron Criner, a former fifth-round pick out of Arizona.
During his first season with the Raiders, Criner flashed some potential as an intermediate receiver with capable hands and a keen ability to contort his body to make acrobatic catches. Although he lacks the speed to stretch the field and still needs work with his route running, the young receiver has the tools to be a difference-maker for the Raiders.
Before he can do that, though, Criner will have to surpass the rest of the competition amidst the Raiders’ muddled receiver depth chart.
At this moment, the only Raiders receiver with a set spot is Denarius Moore, who will be the top target heading into the 2013 season. Other options such as Rod Streater, Josh Cribbs and Jacoby Ford will be battling with Criner during training camp for relevance in the Oakland passing attack. While Criner might not be the ideal candidate to compliment Moore as the No. 2 receiver, he does have the physical tools to push for significant snaps.
If he does earn a role in the Raiders’ passing game, Criner should provide whoever is under center with a reliable option. He routinely dominated secondaries throughout his college career with his big frame and leaping abilities, and should recreate some of that success if given the opportunity.
The potential is there for Criner to be a stud in Oakland. If the Raiders use him right, they could be in for a pleasant surprise once 2013 gets under way.