Print and Go Back NFL Nation [Print without images]

Sunday, September 12, 2010
Tate, Roberts validate WR disclaimers

By Mike Sando

ST. LOUIS -- Receiver Golden Tate, a second-round draft choice from Notre Dame, was a star of Seattle Seahawks training camp, at least early.

Fellow receiver Andre Roberts, a third-round choice for the Arizona Cardinals, once appeared likely to earn a role in a receiving rotation without Anquan Boldin, among others.

Tate and Roberts were both named inactive Sunday, another reminder that rookie receivers can face difficult transitions to the NFL. Roberts fell behind after suffering a shoulder injury early in preseason. Tate faded.

And yet the Cardinals have two rookie wideouts active Sunday (Max Komar, who is expected to return punts, and Stephen Williams). The Rams have one, fourth-round choice Mardy Gilyard. It's possible for rookie receivers to earn playing time, but strong performances early in camp should always come with disclaimers. It's typical for rookie receivers to flash early in camp, then fade from relevance once exhibition games begin.

Offenses require more precision and attention to detail from receivers once the games begin. Tate was rough around the edges, even when he was making big plays in practice. The physical demands of the position can also wear down rookies. Receivers do more running in practice than other position players.