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Position group analysis: Wide receivers

Third in a series analyzing Raiders position groups with scouts and coaches in Indianapolis for the scouting combine:

Starters: Chaz Schilens, Darrius Heyward-Bey. Backups: Louis Murphy, Johnnie Lee Higgins, Todd Watkins, Javon Walker, Nick Miller, Shaun Bodiford, Paul Hubbard, Yamon Figurs.

Review: How does 99 catches for 1,363 yards and seven touchdowns grab you?

Sounds like an off year for Jerry Rice in his prime, given the touchdowns.

Actually, that’s the production of the Raiders entire wide receivers corps over the entire 2009 season.

The good news was a promising rookie season from fourth-round draft pick Murphy (34 receptions, 521 yards, four touchdowns), and a solid half-season from second-year wideout Schilens (29 catches, 365 yards, two touchdowns) after recovering from a broken metatarsal which cost him the first eight games.

The rest of the wide receivers struggled, most notably Heyward-Bey, who had nine catches, 124 yards, one touchdown and missed the last five games with a foot injury. The Raiders stubbornly kept starting him even though his production was minimal. It didn’t help that Heyward-Bey’s absence came once JaMarcus Russell left the lineup as well, because Russell and DHB had zero chemistry.

Higgins wasn’t nearly as effective in Year 2, either as a receiver or return specialist and seemed to be gunshy for weeks after being flattened by San Diego’s Eric Weddle in the opener. Watkins caught eight passes for 90 yards in limited playing time.

Two roster spots were essentially wasted _ Walker was active for only three games and failed to catch pass and Nick Miller remained on the 53-man roster until the tail end of the season before finally going on injured reserve following a broken tibia sustained late in training camp.

Contract status: No free agents at the position. Walker is guaranteed $2.3 million this season whether he’s on the roster or not in the last year of his restructured deal.

What’s next: Schilens was the Raiders best offensive player in training camp before being hurt and the hope is what he showed in his half-season only scratches the surface of what he can accomplish. Murphy turned out to be a much more fluid and natural receiver than Heyward-Bey but must learn to keep his emotions under control.

The hope for Heyward-Bey is he would be a Willie Gault type threat on the outside, a quick-strike artist who would also clear out areas for others. It’s a huge offseason for him to be that player, one of offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s tasks will be to get him involved in the offense and improve his confidence.

Higgins can be an effective receiver if used on quick throws and bubble screens but was underutilized in that way last season with the coaching staff seemingly losing confidence in him. Watkins is an end-of-the-roster type who probably won’t ever make a big contribution.

Hard to know what the Raiders are thinking for Walker and Miller, although cutting Walker this year with $2.3 million left to pay might be more palatable than doing it last year when he had $4.6 million to go. The Raiders were actually lining Miller up in the backfield and doing some creative things with him before the injury, but only they know why he never went on injured reserve.

This group has enough young wideouts and is in need of an established veteran receiver, but unfortunately, two of the most notable veterans available _ Terrell Owens and Antonio Bryant _ probably aren’t players you’d want serving as mentors to Schilens, Murphy and Heyward-Bey.

One name to watch _ Baltimore’s Derrick Mason is 36 years old but had 73 receptions for 1,028 yards and seven touchdowns. Perhaps Jackson can sell him on being a productive mentor in Oakland. He’s said he’s not interested in a one-year contract with the Ravens.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    Another Speedy WR and the Greatness of the Raiders is complete!

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    Al Davis putting together another Roster is depressing!

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    Raider O…..you dont believe in “trickle down” do you?

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    Starters: Chaz Schilens, Darrius Heyward-Bey

    ********************************

    Ugghhhhh….

  • RaiderRockstar

    5th?

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    5th?
    ———————
    Yeah, so true. ;-(

  • http://atm Raider O

    I believe in a pure system with no govt involved or unions!

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    Good timing on Jerry’s part.

    Things were about to get out of hand

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    Raider O Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I believe in a pure system with no govt involved or unions!
    ————————-
    Try Somalia.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Obama:

    “New health plan”

    “Med Reform”

    “insurance reform”

    That was a joke!

  • Senior Beeecham

    Ah, the laughs & joy … ricochet … son ….

    I knew you were a cowardly little lamb and the blog doormat (welcome to the blog, now please enjoy kicking lil ric in the groin!), but I never thought you enjoyed melting down so spectacularly in front of me!

    I feel bad in a way, but then I realize how much fun it is to have you lapping at my pant leg, doing everything your little mind can think up to get my attention that I … well, I just soak it all in!

    I wonder if this is the way the Greek Gods felt?

    Anyway, my little poodle, when you came shuffling around earlier pleading with me to talk Raiders with you – and giving you a chance at acceptance – you were given permission to receive my teachings

    But now, like the truest of cowards, you post one of your pre made responses and run away in humiliation. Oh, it hurts to nailed, doesn’t it?

    So now here’s the important part – don’t pee yourself in your little cubicle out of fear. Like a big boy, get up and walk to bathroom – that’s the place where they stick your head in the toilet and then flush – and do your little man business there.

    Because the last thing a tiny fella like yourself trying to survive in the big world needs is being ostracized at work for messing his pants and breaking into tears.

    But, my minion in training … I love every minute it!!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Try the Old USA, and that’s what made this country great!
    This new sense of self entitlement is killing us!

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    Raider O Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Try the Old USA, and that’s what made this country great!
    This new sense of self entitlement is killing us!
    ————————-
    Wtf do you know about the old USA?

  • http://atm Raider O

    I dont want to bother other posters, so I will not talk politics or The Fact that The OSU > mich.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Nothing old man! You know a lot more than I do. Relax!

  • JB

    In that we don’t really need any more WR at this time, I guess we can count on AD to use the #8 spot for a fast WR. We just have to forget that we don’t have a dependable QB to throw the ball to our current crop of WR. So, might as well add another one to the list.

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    FDR’s “entitlements” created a middle class out of the ashes of the Great Depression (Old USA)

  • Pretty Rick

    Murphy will get better & will eventually become our #1 Wr. D-Bey will learn how to catch & become a productive deep threat. Chaz Schilens will get hurt,,,again. Zach Miller will be a top 5 TE and become a pro bowler. All of this will eventually enable Ja(Marcus) Russell to be back in the grace of the Raider Nation,,, I think,,,,

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    Session time Raider O….I think I’ll join you bro!

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    Old Time America believed a rising tide raises all ships.The reason 4 that was EVERYBODY and I mean EVERYBODY had to contribute to the war effort.When WW2 was one EVERYBODY shared in the victory because EVERYBODY SHARED in the hardship of war.Not so anymore.Somehow we have lost the SPIRIT of the rising Tide,imo

  • http://atm Raider O

    I got some purp Cush & Bue Dream.

    Smoke Session!!

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    WON not one sorry

  • http://CableBumaye 909RaiderLifer

    JerryMac…

    Why do I sense that of all group “analysis” pieces you will write for us, the only one with any positive “analysis” will be the Kickers..

    You could have saved yourself some time Jerry, and just re-printed last years “analysis”. With just some edits for a few names….

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    By golly Raider O you just might have added it all up!

    curious george wanted to be a “uniter”.How best to do that,hmmmmm…..I’ve watched skyscrapers go up and have plumbed them as they go up….I just cant fathom those Two Towers falling soo perfectly and completly without some type of implosion from inside.Hmmmm

  • Rhino

    4evaRaider Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
    Old Time America believed a rising tide raises all ships.The reason 4 that was EVERYBODY and I mean EVERYBODY had to contribute to the war effort.When WW2 was one EVERYBODY shared in the victory because EVERYBODY SHARED in the hardship of war.Not so anymore.Somehow we have lost the SPIRIT of the rising Tide,imo
    ——————————————————- until pearl harbour,yanks didnt wanna fight dude

  • Senior Beeecham

    Hey Krappy, just wondering if you ever got that fax off to Al Davis!

    You know, the one about the Raiders record over the last 7 years that instantly inspires him to reorganize the entire front office to your specifications?

    If you haven’t sent that yet, get out your quill and parchment paper and get to writin’!

    The draft ain’t gonna pick itself, you wacky old hedgehog!

    Eeeeeehaaaw!

  • Thec07

    Louis Murphy is Badass and should be a starter…..

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    WHOA!!!!! sorry guys great session, I might add :)

  • RaiderRockstar

    5pm in Podunk. later gents!

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    I love the passion Louis Murphy brings to the team. You don’t see that much, here.

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    I know we didnt want to fight Rhino….that is the mind of a confident nation,not to fight….But when Japan punched us in the mouth,we had no choice.

    And by not fighting until provoked, it follows the strategy of divide and conquer

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    I love Murphys passion too KK

    And Shaunessy

    And Bryant

    And Da Missle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    And BRANCH!!!!!

    Like this kid Branch has Raider name ROYALITY already.But the flip side whoa….thats some BIG NAME SHOES LOL

  • RaiderLen

    KoolKell Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 2:39 pm
    FDR’s “entitlements” created a middle class out of the ashes of the Great Depression (Old USA)

    ======================================================
    World War II and the GI Bill were the catalysts.

    Credit for the GI bill is attributed to Harry W Colmery, Ernest McFarland, Warren Atherton, and Edith Nourse Rodgers.

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    RaiderLen Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    World War II and the GI Bill were the catalysts.

    Credit for the GI bill is attributed to Harry W Colmery, Ernest McFarland, Warren Atherton, and Edith Nourse Rodgers.
    ————————
    FDR’s “entitlements were the catalysts for the Middle Class.

  • RaiderLen
  • Raider J

    Invite Marvin Harrison to camp.

    I ordered a Ken Stabler jersey and they sent Heyward Bey. Anybody want it?

  • Frank YoooooooLLL

    what the hell is wrong with unions?

  • mack-madden

    Chaz n Murphy should start at WR.

    DHB as our 3rd WR. Higgins 4th if he still on roster.

    I’m not sure if mr Davis can pass up on Dez Bryant.
    I know WR is not a need but mr Davis loves that kind of size-speed combo.

    Joe Haden or Dez Bryant at #8.
    Might not be smart picks but atleast it’ll be sure fire talent.

  • Carl Weathers

    909RaiderLifer Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 2:54 pm
    JerryMac…

    Why do I sense that of all group “analysis” pieces you will write for us, the only one with any positive “analysis” will be the Kickers..

    You could have saved yourself some time Jerry, and just re-printed last years “analysis”. With just some edits for a few names….
    ——————————————

    That’s what I’m expecting when it comes to LB’s & DB’s.

  • Carl Weathers

    I hope HuJe can get this group going and make use out of the RB’s.

    BTW, Is Lal still WR coach?

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  • stvvon

    OK!! my turn, I feel the WR group is in direct relation to the QB. I really like Bruce Gradkowski…maybe spelled right..???..oh well. He is the direct line to the WR group. Bruce is the type of guy the Raiders need to get things right.(Push to sign him). If he is making the right decisions then the WR group will actually get better. DHB will be better with a smart guy running the offense, DHB will be really good when the team is good. Chaz is a pretty good WR too. Raiders need Bruce, he is the key to the Raiders success. GO RAIDERS!!! make it happen Mr. Davis

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