The general rule of thumb for wide receivers is to look for them to breakout in their third season.
Of course fans have been spoiled in recent years with genetic freaks such as Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and A.J. Green coming in and dominating as rookies, but that’s rarely the case.
Former Tennessee Volunteer Denarius Moore, a fifth round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2011, could be poised to breakout in a big way in 2013.
Moore wasn’t expected to contribute much as a rookie in 2011, especially on a roster that was already crowded at the wide receiver position. Moore ended up catching 33 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, including a 50 yard touchdown reception in the second game of his career against Buffalo.
The former Vol further improved on his statistics in his second season with the Raiders, leading the team with 741 yards on 51 receptions. He also had seven touchdown catches in 2012.
With the departure of the Raider’s former first round draft pick, Darius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore is positioned to be “the guy” in Oakland.
Moore has the most realistic chance of being the go-to receiver for Matt Flynn (or Tyler Wilson) next season. The other receivers on the Raider’s roster are plenty capable (Jacoby Ford and Rod Streater are the other top options), but I believe Moore has the highest ceiling on the team.
Speaking of quarterbacks, that may be the only thing holding Moore back this season. Last year he had Carson Palmer throwing him the ball. Even though Palmer has been much maligned, he was a very capable veteran quarterback, something that can’t be overlooked. Matt Flynn was expected to be the starter in Seattle last season, but was unable to beat out another rookie Wilson, Russell Wilson. Now he’ll have to compete against Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas. Both have to be considered slight downgrades, at least at first.
Now just because I think Moore could be in for a huge season, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have areas where he needs to improve. He’ll have to be a more consistent player. Near the end of last season Moore was benched by Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, for “sub-par” play. Allen mentioned this after a late season game against the Browns:
“[Moore] Dropped a couple balls. We got to make plays when you’ve got opportunities”
Moore proved he can put up big numbers, but he also showed he could disappear in games. In week 10 last season against the New Orleans Saints he caught only one pass for nine yards. He’ll have to eliminate performances like that if he wants to keep progressing.
The only thing standing between Denarius Moore and being a big-time NFL receiver is consistency.
Moore is definitely trending upward and the Raiders are hoping he can breakout in a big way in his third NFL season.
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