Alvis Whitted (seventh year), Ronald Curry (third year), Doug Gabriel (second year), Carlos Francis (first year) and Johnnie Morant (first year) are continuing to take advantage of their chances that they might not have gotten if Brown were still present. The Oakland Raiders wide receivers already include future Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice and fifth-year man Jerry Porter as starters.
That makes seven receivers that stand a realistic
chance to make the team. The problem is that the
Raiders typically kept six under Jon Gruden
(1998-2001) and Bill Callahan (2002-2003). Who knows
which direction first year head coach Norv Turner will
go but it's hard to imagine Turner keeping more than
six -- if he keeps that many.
Porter and Rice are certainly safe. Rice might be
entering his 20th season but still has enough left as
a No. 2 or 3 receiver. The question is which one of
the rest of the group do the Raiders let go? One
option would be releasing one of the rookies, Francis
or Morant, and putting them on the practice squad.
However, that would be a big problem because they
would have to clear waivers and both are playing too
well for another team not to pick them up.
Here's a closer look:
Ronald Curry: Oakland has been high on Curry
throughout training camp. If fact, the coaches
elevated him to No. 3 shortly after releasing Brown.
Curry has not made the big plays that Gabriel and
Francis have and he could conceivably drop below them.
However, Curry has done nothing to hurt himself and
the Raiders have invested a lot of time in Curry since
converting him from college quarterback to wide
receiver. Therefore, it makes it highly unlikely that
Oakland would let him go.
Doug Gabriel: It's easy to see why the Raiders have
been so high on him throughout training camp and the
offseason. Gabriel has caught two touchdown passes in
the preseason, coming from 34 and 89 yards from Kerry Collins. The Raiders clearly plan on utilizing the
long ball under Turner. Based on Gabriel's preseason
performance, Oakland might have found a deep threat.
Carlos Francis: He sat out the Raiders 21-20 loss to
Dallas with a hamstring injury but his performance in
the team's 33-30 win over San Francisco is hard to
ignore. Francis showed his tremendous burst of speed
in scoring on a 36-yard touchdown catch and an 86-yard
Johnnie Morant: He has looked solid late in the game
against both San Francisco and Dallas but the fact
that he has not entered either game until early in the
fourth quarter makes it hard to truly evaluate him. Of
the "young" receivers, he would be the mostly likely
to be the odd man out but it's not likely.
Alvis Whitted: He has made big plays against both
Dallas and San Francisco but it's not totally out of
the question that Whitted would be the odd man out
because he has been in the NFL for six seasons and the
Raiders have invested a lot of time with Curry,
Gabriel, Francis and Morant, thinking they have an
Looking at the young receivers
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