Oakland Raiders: Rod Streater and Juron Criner Boost Wide Receiver Corps

Steven SlivkaCorrespondent IIIAugust 20, 2012

Rod Streater has 13 catches in Oakland's first two preseason games.
Rod Streater has 13 catches in Oakland's first two preseason games.Cary Emondson-US PRESSWIRE

After two preseason games, the Oakland Raiders are 0-2 and have already been shut out once.

Although it's only the preseason, there are already causes for concern for the silver and black's speedy wide receivers.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, who finished 2011 with a career-high 64 catches and a team-high 975 yards, has been bothered by a shoulder injury since the Raiders' last game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Fellow wide receiver and return man Denarius Moore has been hampered by a hamstring injury for two months now, a problem that has to worry the Raiders.

Speedster Jacoby Ford is in a walking boot after spraining his foot against the Cardinals, the same foot that cost him significant time last year.

With Oakland's top three receivers sidelined, the rookie receivers need to step up in the biggest way possible.

Rod Streater, an undrafted free agent, and Juron Criner, Oakland's fifth-round pick out of Arizona, will be called upon to get the job done if the starters are unable to go when Week 1 rolls around.

Streater has a total of 13 catches for 109 yards in the Raiders' two preseason contests, and has been the favorite of the Raiders' quarterbacks so far.

He didn't turn heads while at Temple, but he's certainly given Oakland something to look forward to this preseason.

Criner hasn't seen as much action as Streater, but he turned heads in OTAs by using his big body to make big plays.

His 6'3'', 221-pound frame sets him apart from the speedsters Oakland already has lining up outside.

During his final two seasons at Arizona, Criner finished with 2,189 yards and 22 touchdowns for the Wildcats.

He led the Pac-10 during his junior season with 83 receptions, and finished the year seventh in the nation by averaging 95.7 yards per game.

Criner's body type is similar to Tampa Bay's Vincent Jackson, which will help the Raiders out in the red zone, as he can overpower defenders with his bigger frame.

Oakland finished in the middle of the NFL last season in touchdown percentage in the red zone. With Michael Bush not there to pound it in, the Raiders may have to go aerial to Criner to get the job done.

The quicker Heyward-Bey, Moore and Ford get back on the field, the better for the Raiders. If not, look for Streater and Criner to step up for the silver and black.