The purge with the Oakland Raiders from the Al Davis era is nearly complete with just 17 players left from the 2010 roster. Though coaching changes have still been a regular thing with the franchise, it appears the player personnel department is finally starting to cultivate some talent for the Silver and Black.
One such example is wide receiver Rod Streater who has quickly emerged as the club’s top receiving option in training camp. That aforementioned purge included former draft bust Darrius Heyward-Bey this offseason who signed with the Indianapolis Colts so the Raiders have made a big change at the position. And this is as good a year as any to make a complete transition at the skill positions given new starting quarterback Matt Flynn.
Flynn has taken a liking to Streater who had 39 catches for 584 yards as a rookie last season. He joined Oakland as an undrafted free agent out of Temple which further illustrates the turnaround that the organization has made as far as combing for talent is concerned.
Quarterbacks tend to gravitate toward receivers that catch balls that are thrown on target, obviously, and all indications are that Streater hasn’t let any of those touch the turf so far in camp. Gaining a trust with the man under center is going to be huge for his ability to be productive this season. With more than enough speed to make defenders worry about him slipping by them and crisp route running skills that force guys to really be on their toes, Streater could easily be the go-to guy all season in Oakland.
Many believed Denarius Moore would be the top option coming into camp for the Raiders, but with Carson Palmer now a member of the Arizona Cardinals, any favor he had gained from the man under center is out the window. Even though Moore is a terrific deep ball option, the new man under center in Flynn is more adept in the short to intermediate passing game where Streater is an excellent weapon with his reliable hands and tremendous route running.
While one week of training camp does not dictate exactly what’s to come in the 2013 season, Streater has certainly gained himself some confidence from the Raiders coaching staff. Head coach Dennis Allen said:
“I think he’s a little bit more confident. I think he has a little bit better understanding of how the NFL game is played. He’s playing a little bit more physical and that’s one of the qualities that we like about him. He’s improved his route running. You have a guy who has some talent, the guy works extremely hard, he’s going to continue to get better.”
He may not be a household name just yet, but if Streater’s camp performance is any indication it won’t be long before that changes.