Up until the last week when the Raiders traded Louis Murphy to the Panthers, the wide receiving corps appeared to be pretty locked up. Or at very least there were some clear frontrunners for the roster spots.
Behind starters Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford were Murphy and the two rookies Juron Criner and Rod Streater. Now with Murphy gone, the competition has opened up for his spot on this team. And a strong performance on the first day of camp puts Eddie McGee in the lead for that spot.
It was similar strong performances by Criner and Streater during OTA's and minicamp that put them squarely in the mix at wide receiver. But while they were impressing, McGee was watching with an injured hamstring.
I spoke to McGee at the time who found it very frustrating after all the offseason work he put in with Carson Palmer that he was unable to go out and show it. Now he is full go and right away, that work is showing in his performance in practice.
He had several nice catches while the coaches gave him a couple series with Palmer and the first team. His first nice catch was tipped by Philip Wheeler but McGee corrected on the ball and caught it in stride for a long gainer on a crossing route. Later he caught a long ball in double coverage. And his third fine grab, he went up high over a defender right at the sideline to come down with the catch just inbounds.
"Man, I'm just out there trying to do my part, do my job. I aint trying to be no star. I'm just trying to perform, produce.
"I just went out there to make the catches when they were thrown to me and a feel like I did that today. So, yeah, I'd say I met my expectations."
It can be a tough thing to see a fellow player leave and it can cause some mixed feelings when that player leaving could potentially open a roster spot. McGee struggles with seeing
"Man, Murph was my guy, I love Murph," said McGee. "But that's the business and I gotta just roll with the punches and keep going. It's unfortunate but it's the profession that we're in."
For McGee to make the team, the team would most likely have to keep six receivers on the roster. He is eligible for the practice squad but if he plays well in the preseason, the team will probably not want to cut him and risk another team swiping him up before they can place him on the practice squad.
It is just the first day of camp but thus far, McGee is off on the right foot.