Training camp outlook: Wide receiver

One story in a series, looking at position breakdowns for the Oakland Raiders, who arrive for training camp in Napa, CA. Today – a look at wide receivers:

The Oakland Raiders made a big splash in the offseason when they traded the seventh overall pick in the NFL draft, and linebacker Napoleon Harris, for Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss.

The fact that the Raiders traded for a high impact player with baggage is hardly a surprise. Keep in mind, Oakland signed defensive tackle Warren Sapp last season from Tampa Bay. There is, however, one difference. Sapp's performance continued to decline last season. Moss, however, is still an impact player who can make a big difference.

The Raiders also re-signed Jerry Porter. Oakland is hoping that the tandem of Moss and Porter can produce many big plays to go along with strong-armed quarterback Kerry Collins. Both Moss and Porter are saying all the right things about their willingness to share the spotlight of being the go-to guy but let's see what happens when the Raiders lose and one player catches say, seven passes and the other catches three.

Oakland would be in even better shape if Ronald Curry could recover from an Achilles tendon injury that cut his season short. Before that injury, Curry had at times emerged as the go-to guy.

Doug Gabriel, Alvis Whitted, Johnnie Morant and Carlos Francis are the rest of the receivers. Gabriel has not shown enough consistency to be anything other than a kickoff returner and backup. Alvis Whitted's greatest asset is his world class speed but how long do the Raiders maintain the James Jett scholarship with Whitted? Morant has potential but must demonstrate the work ethic to match it. Francis has enormous speed but his season got cut short with a knee injury.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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