How does Greg Little fit with Raiders?

May, 19, 2014
May 19
7:45
PM ET
Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie planned on drafting a wide receiver. Really, he did. And if Sammy Watkins, rather than linebacker Khalil Mack, had been there at No. 5, the game-changing pass-catcher would have probably been the choice.

Alas, the Raiders were thrilled to have Mack for the taking even if, as the draft unfolded, no receivers to their liking remained on the board.

All of which brings us to Monday's announcement of the Raiders claiming three-year veteran receiver Greg Little.

Is he the game-breaking playmaker the Raiders need (when Denarius Moore is in hibernation)? Not particularly.

Is he a veteran in the mold of newly acquired James Jones? Not quite.

So how does Little fit, if at all, into the Raiders' receiving corps, especially with him carrying some baggage?

He's relatively young (he'll be 25 on May 30), he's physical (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) and, as noted above, he has experience.

In three seasons, Little has played in all 48 games, starting 41, and has caught 155 passes for 1,821 yards and eight touchdowns. And, of course, he has a huge chip on his shoulder, like so many of the Raiders' other offseason pickups, after being cut by the Cleveland Browns last week.

"October 26, 2014 is definitely circled beleedat!" Little tweeted Monday afternoon, obviously referring to the Raiders' game that day at Cleveland.

Little, a converted running back drafted in the second round out of North Carolina in 2011, has shown flashes of talent with bouts of inconsistency.

"He shows you he can jump up and make the one-handed catch, he shows you he can break a tackle, the question then is can he repeatedly do that over and over again," Browns general manager Ray Farmer said last week. "That's the difference between being average or marginal and good or great."

Little led the Browns in receptions in 2011 and 2012 with 61 and 53, respectively, but also had numerous drops.

Off the field, he had a car crash in which he was drag racing and wrecked while going 127 mph. At North Carolina, he was reportedly issued 93 parking tickets on vehicles with nine different license plate numbers.

Little was suspended in 2010 along with other teammates for receiving improper benefits that included cash and travel accommodations. In November, the school sent him, and other former Tar Heels, a letter of "permanent disassociation" for their role that led to NCAA penalties and even criminal charges against five people for violating a North Carolina law governing sports agents.

Oakland's signing would seem to be a low-risk, high-reward proposition for the team, whose locker room was fortified with so many purported high-character veteran additions this offseason. You saw it in the later rounds of the draft and now, it's apparent with the Little signing.

Paul Gutierrez

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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