Cary Emondson-US PRESSWIRE
Next up in our 2012 season awards, we honor the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The Raiders didn't have much of a draft last year. There had traded away their first and second round picks and used their third round pick on Terrelle Pryor in the previous supplemental draft. They were able to make up for the overall numbers with three compensatory picks.
But from the beginning Reggie McKenzie had said he loves his draft picks and he loves his undrafted free agents. That latter is where the Raiders were able to make up for the lack of big draft prizes.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Rod Streater
32 teams passed on Streater in the draft... eight times. The Raiders were one of those teams which made them the lucky team Streater chose to sign with following the draft.
Streater went undrafted due to his low college receiving numbers. He flew under the Radar as part of a run oriented offense at Temple. He had a total of 19 catches as a senior for 401 yards. His best game his entire college career was 88 yards.
He surpassed his senior catch numbers this season in week 9 vs the Ravens. Two weeks later, he surpassed his best game in college by catching 3 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. The next week he had his first 100 yard game.
Streater was the Raiders best receiver by that point. As an undrafted free agent, he defied the odds just to make the team. He had every pro scout in America going over their notes and wondering how they could have missed on him.
The scouting report was much higher on Raiders rookie round five pick, Juron Criner. He was at one point considered a round two prospect. It was his 40 time that dropped him into the fifth round. Streater got on the field first and stayed there as Criner would be hampered by injuries late in the season.
As rare as it is to become an instant contributor as an undrafted free agent, it's almost unheard of to outshine every drafted rookie that season and take playing time away from the starters. But that's exactly what Streater did.
This is the fifth season in a row the Raiders have had a rookie receiver step up for the team. Last season it was Denarius Moore but he took a step back in his second season. The season before that it was fourth round pick, Jacoby Ford, but he was placed on injured reserve before the season. The season before that, it was fourth round pick, Louis Murphy, who was traded to the Panthers due in large part to the emergence of Streater. The season before that was Chaz Schilens who had injury issues most of his career in Oakland and was not brought back this season.
Streater will hope to be the one guy to buck the trend of coming hard out of the gate only to falter or go down with injuries. He is the hot receiver right now, finishing with 548 yards receiving on the season. That makes him the Raiders' Offensive Rookie of the Year.