By Ryan Leong
Rod Streater, WR # 80
Hometown: Burlington, N.J.
Experience: First NFL season (rookie)
There haven’t been many bright spots this year for the Raiders. One of the potential stars of the future is wide receiver Rod Streater. He was the New Jersey state champion in the high jump and pursued by the Raiders following the 2012 NFL Draft. In college, Streater played two years at Temple after transferring from Alfred State playing in 25 games with 16 starts. When he played junior college ball at Alfred State, Streater played both wide receiver and safety.
In his senior year at Temple, Streater ranked third on the team with only 19 receptions for 401 yards and three touchdowns. One was a 61-yard touchdown reception against Wyoming. In another game against Ohio, he had three catches including a 34-yard TD. His junior season was even more impressive, ranking second on the team with 30 receptions for 481 yards and four touchdowns. He also hauled in a career best 80-yard touchdown catch.
But with only 49 catches in two years, Streater didn’t think he had much of a future playing football professionally.
He kept practicing anyway and impressed scouts at his pro day. He was signed by Oakland after being passed up by all 32 teams in the draft.
Streater made a great impression at rookie minicamp and continued to make strides during OTAs, minicamp and training camp.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” Streater said. “I thought football was over for me. I was just looking at getting a job. Then you come here and the game’s on your hands. It’s a lot of pressure and then it’s not. It’s what you prepare for. It’s what you want to do as a kid growing up. It’s a good feeling.”
Once the 2012 season began he moved up the depth chart with injuries to wide receiver Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore. In his NFL debut on Sep. 10 which was Monday Night Football, he caught four passes for 27 yards including his first touchdown. Streater had eight catches for 70 yards in his first three games. He would not record his second touchdown until Nov. 4 against Tampa Bay. He had four catches for 54 yards and a 25-yard touchdown.
But he only totaled three catches in the next two games and was shutout against Cincinnati. Around Thanksgiving, which is normally when his college season would end, he hit the wall and fell to fourth on the depth chart, behind fellow rookie Juron Criner.
But his most impressive showing was a two game stretch vs. Cleveland and Denver where he showed he could be a serious playmaker. Against the Browns, he had three catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. The next week in front of a nationally televised audience for Thursday Night Football vs. the Broncos, Streater had four catches for 100 yards. It’s the first time Streater had a 100-yard receiving game in his career at any level.
“That’s part of being a rookie,” coach Dennis Allen said. “It’s a little bit of a roller-coaster ride, and you have some ups and downs,” Allen said. “Criner was getting a little bit more playing time, and he was getting a little bit less playing time, and then he got the opportunity and made a few plays. That’s what it’s all about. When you make plays you play a lot more.”
In the last two games, Streater caught five passes for 62 yards vs. Kansas City but only had two receptions for 16 yards at Carolina. But Streater continues to set the bar high for himself.
“I feel like I’m improving each week,” Streater said. “No matter what it is I always want to get better. Next week I’ll try to go better than 100. I just try to get better.”
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.