This offseason, it seemed like Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie was really firing on all cylinders. From bringing in veteran free agents like Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley, Matt Schaub and Maurice Jones-Drew to drafting potentially high impact players like Khalil Mack and Derek Carr, McKenzie was hitting all the right notes in leading the Raiders to one of the best and most productive offseasons the organization has enjoyed in quite a long time. Which makes the decision to claim WR Greg Little off waivers from the Cleveland Browns all the more baffling.
The Browns, who are going to be without standout WR Josh Gordon for a long while, have patched together a ragtag group of receivers who include Dallas Cowboys castoff Miles Austin, and Chicago Bears throwaway Earl Bennett. The fact that Little couldn’t manage to stick with Cleveland’s motley receiving corps is disturbing — and should be even more disturbing to Raider fans now that he’s wearing the Silver & Black. The move to add Little really raises some eyebrows about McKenzie’s decision to add him to Oakland’s roster.
After being drafted in the second round out of North Carolina in 2011, Little has showed some flashes of real promise – he led the Browns in receptions in both 2011 and 2012. But the biggest knock on him, and the thing that just can’t be overlooked, has been his inconsistency and propensity to drop balls – issues that have plagued Oakland’s still somewhat green, but incredibly talented receiving corps. Issues, it is believed, that former Green Bay Packers receiver, and free agent acquisition James Jones will be helping the Raiders’ receivers with.
What makes the addition of Little even more questionable is the fact that he doesn’t necessarily seem to fit the type of players McKenzie has targeted this offseason – blue collar, unselfish players who perform on the field, and stays out of trouble off of it. Little has had a string of incidents and problems off the field dating back to his college days.
Though he’s showed flashes of brilliance, and has averaged around 50 catches a season with the Browns, his history of inconsistency, and dropped passes – not to mention the poor decision making that has led to his off the field troubles – doesn’t seem to be an incredibly high reward with gambling the team’s chemistry on. Not with the talent already on the roster. Talent like Denarius Moore, Rod Streater and Andre Holmes. And most certainly not with the baggage and assumed risk that comes with Little.
In an offseason in which he’s pushed all the right buttons, and has pulled off a number of smart, savvy moves that are beginning to make Oakland look like a formidable team once more, the addition of Greg Little doesn’t make a lot of sense, and seems to be striking a very wrong chord.