We now reach the final number in the 80s in our countdown to the Raiders season opener. Ah, the coveted number 80. Quite a few good receivers across the league have worn this number, including a few very good Raiders players. But the question is...
Who wore it best: WR Jerry Rice (2001-04)
Though he spent just over three seasons with the Raiders at the end of his career, they were great years. He arrived in 2001 and immediately put up 1139 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns. The following season he had his best numbers since his All Pro 1996 season and in doing so he helped the Raiders reach the Super Bowl.
Rice is widely regarded as the greatest football player of all time, being named All Pro 10 of 11 seasons from 1986 to 1996. He added just the threat the Raiders needed opposite Tim Brown to get them over the hump. Rich Gannon had the best years of his career throwing to those two, including being named NFL MVP in that 2002 season. Rice also made his first trip to the Pro Bowl in five years that season - at the age of 40.
Who's wearing it now: WR Rod Streater
The 2012 undrafted free agent came on late in his rookie season, showing himself to be the best receiver on the team. Come 2013, he proved it by being the team's leading receiver. He began last season the same way, but was lost to a broken foot in week three and was placed on injured reserve.
Now heading into this season, the Raiders have acquired a couple of receivers that are ahead of him on the depth chart. First they signed former 49ers top pick, Michael Crabtree and then used their top pick (4th overall) this year on Amari Cooper. Thus far those two are the starters with Streater as the third receiver.
As good as Streater has been, he can't carry this wide receiver corps as a true number one receiver. Amari Cooper has the potential to fill that role and having Rod Streater either starting with him or in three receiver sets can only be a good thing. He has shown himself to be a very good receiver and I expect him to return to his 2013 form when he caught 60 passes for 888 yards and 4 touchdowns.