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Friday, October 7, 2011
Breaking down the Raiders' receivers

By Bill Williamson

The Oakland Raiders have an interesting situation brewing at receiver.

They are finally all healthy.

Oakland’s receiving crew has been a work in progress for years. Thanks to some nice mid-round draft picks, Oakland now has a potentially strong group of receivers. Now that Louis Murphy is back from a sports hernia that kept him out nearly two months, it is a crowded group. Let’s look at Oakland’s receivers, in alphabetical order, and examine what we should expect this season:

Jacoby Ford

Known for: He was a steal in the fourth round in 2010. He is an explosive playmaker.

2011 stats: Three catches, 22 yards, no touchdowns.

Comment: He missed time with a hamstring injury. Now that Ford is healthy, I think he has a chance to be in the top of the rotation.

How I rank him: 2

Derek Hagan

Known for: He is a journeyman with a limited reputation in the NFL.

2011 stats: 10 catches, 101 yards, no touchdowns.

Comment: He is steady and has good hands. He moves the chains. He’s good injury insurance.

How I rank him: 6

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Known for: The No. 7 overall pick in 2009 has dealt with hands issues and he hasn’t lived up to the Raiders’ expectations.

2011 stats: Nine catches, 164 yards, no touchdowns.

Comment: He is coming off his best NFL game. If he continues to work on his hands, he has a chance to help this team. I think others should be higher in the rotation because of their consistency.

How I rank him: 5

Denarius Moore

Known for: The steal of the 2011 draft. The fifth-round pick has been stellar.

2011 stats: 12 catches, 199 yards, two touchdowns.

Comment: Oakland should make Moore a definite starter and watch him shine. He has the highest ceiling of this group.

How I rank him: 1

Louis Murphy

Known for: The fourth-round pick in 2009 was the Raiders’ steadiest receiver in his first two NFL seasons.

2011 stats: He hasn’t played.

Comment: He is a steady, polished player. There is always room for a player like Murphy.

How I rank him: 3

Chaz Schilens

Known for: He is a talented player, who can’t stay healthy.

2011 stats: Five catches, 40 yards, no touchdowns.

Comment: Schilens has been bypassed by other players. He has a chance to be a top player, but he must stay healthy.

How I rank him: 4

Conclusion: There is a ton of potential here. Oakland coach Hue Jackson will be challenged to find the right rotation. In the end, it’s a nice problem for Jackson to have.