Redskins

Rookie WR Rod Streater impresses for Raiders

Rookie WR Rod Streater impresses for Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Rod Streater spent last December preparing with Temple for the New Mexico Bowl, what he believed would be the final football game of his career.

With only 19 catches as a senior, Streater understandably drew little notice from NFL scouts and was resigned to pursuing a career with his degree in communications and public relations.

Just a year later, Streater is proving he belongs in the NFL as he has become a trusted target for Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer and a key part of the Raiders' future.

``It's a crazy feeling,'' he 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.''

Streater is tied for sixth among all rookie wide receivers with 28 catches and has 429 yards receiving and three touchdowns. After hitting the proverbial rookie wall near Thanksgiving when he fell behind fellow rookie Juron Criner on the depth chart, Streater has gotten a second wind and put together his two most productive games the past two weeks.

``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. Criner was getting a little bit more playing time and he (Streater) 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.''

Streater bounced back from a zero-catch performance in Cincinnati on Nov. 25 to catch three balls for 96 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland the following week. Then on national television last Thursday night against Denver, Streater had four catches for a career-high 100 yards.

``I feel like I'm improving each week,'' he 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.''

Streater acknowledged that succeeding in the NFL takes much more work than he was used to putting in during college. He credits his improved play on the field to more work off it that has helped him better recognize coverages.

Streater said he is making fewer mistakes during games and is adjusting well to the faster pace in the NFL.

``Rod is doing great,'' Palmer said. ``I love what he brings to the team. He's a rookie but you'd never know it. He's athletically gifted, he's fast, he catches the ball really well, and does not think the game like a rookie. He thinks the game like a veteran. He's doing phenomenal.''

It's been quite an impressive performance from a player who was passed over by all 32 teams in the NFL draft.

Streater never got much of a chance to show what he could do in college. He played defensive back and receiver for two years in junior college at Alfred State before transferring to Temple.

The Owls weren't much of a throwing team and Streater had just 49 catches in two seasons there, including only 19 his senior season.

That was a big reason why he never expected to have a chance in the NFL. But he decided he would keep working out anyway after his final college season and impressed scouts at his pro day.

Despite not being drafted in April, Streater was targeted immediately by Oakland and signed as an undrafted free agent. He made a quick impression at a rookie minicamp and kept up the strong performance throughout OTAs, minicamp and training camp.

A strong exhibition season helped him make the roster and he has been a valuable contributor all season for Oakland.

``He's been making plays since he's been here,'' said Oakland receiver Jacoby Ford, who has been injured all season. ``He looked up to us. We told him, `You just got to go out there and make plays.' I told him yesterday, I said, `They're going to give you guys some opportunities to make plays and they're going to throw it up. Just take advantage of your opportunity.' And that's exactly what he does. He just makes plays week in, week out.''

NOTES: The Raiders were granted a one-day extension to sell enough tickets to avoid a local blackout. The team has been blacked out just once the past two years. ... S Tyvon Branch missed his third straight practice with injuries to his neck and ankle. ... DT Richard Seymour tweaked his hamstring that sidelined him the past five weeks. ... DT Christo Bilukidi returned after missing practice Wednesday with an illness. ... LB Rolando McClain had nothing to say about his recent suspension, saying ``coach covered everything.''

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The makeup of the draft pool will shape the Redskins' first-round strategy

The makeup of the draft pool will shape the Redskins' first-round strategy

The makeup of the top players in the 2018 NFL Draft pool may push the Redskins into continuing a short-term draft trend that appears to be working out fairly well for them. 

For seven straight years beginning in 2009, the Redskins went along with the conventional wisdom in the draft, taking a player that primarily impacted the passing game or stopping the other team’s passing game, with their top draft picks. 

Their top pick (whether in the first or second round) in every draft from 2008-2014 was at a traditionally high-value position associated with the passing game — wide receiver (Devin Thomas), edge rusher (Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy), left tackle (Trent Williams), quarterback (Robert Griffin III), or outside cornerback (David Amerson). 

This was the Redskins going along with the conventional wisdom. Since 2000, 62 percent of first-round NFL draft picks have been players at those positions even though they account for just 32 percent of a team’s starters. 

The Redskins have shifted away for conducting the draft focused on the passing game at the top in two of the last three drafts. The Redskins selected guard Brandon Scherff (No. 5) in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and interior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (No. 22) in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In between, they went the old way, selecting wide receiver Josh Doctson (No. 22) in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

This trend is likely to continue due in part to the makeup of the top talent in the draft.

If you’re not looking for a quarterback, the top half of the first round is very light in talented players playing the positions that are most important to the passing game — outside cornerback, edge rusher, left tackle, and wide receiver. Cornerback Denzel Ward is a top-10 player as is edge rusher Bradley Chubb. But that’s about it at those positions and there are no wide receivers or left tackles worthy of consideration in the top 15.

That leaves players like interior defensive linemen Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne and inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds as players who have the potential to be the best available players on the board when the Redskins are on the clock. Traditionally, these players play positions that teams are looking for in the latter stages of the first round at the earliest. 

They could go the non-traditional way for the third time in four years with Vea, Payne, Fitzpatrick, or Smith. In fact, unless Ward slips or they pull off a major surprise it’s likely that they will.

Scherff has worked out well and Allen was getting the job done as a rookie before he got injured so perhaps the way the draft plays out will work out well for Washington.

More Redskins Draft News

 

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John Wall said he's not listening to Drake's music during Wizards-Raptors playoff series

John Wall said he's not listening to Drake's music during Wizards-Raptors playoff series

The friendly feud between Wizards guard John Wall and Raptors superfan Drake nearly tilted to Washington over the weekend as the rap star apparently floated the idea of showing up for Game 3 in D.C. 

Drake, in fact, was going to bring with him a prop to show just how confident he was after his team went up up 2-0.

"I told him to be here for Game 3. He told me he was going to be here," Wall said. "He didn't show up. He told me we was getting swept and he said he had the broom for us."

Wall and Drake exchanged trash-talk throughout the first two games held up in Toronto as Drake sat courtside. Their back-and-forth was caught on camera and went viral.

Wall now has the upperhand with the Wizards having won two straight games as the series shifts back to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday.

"I wanted him to know that they wasn't going to sweep us," Wall said. "We did what we were supposed to do. We came home and took home court, won two games."

Wall continued to say that him and Drake "are just having fun." He has referred to Drake as a friend in the past and Drake is a fan of the University of Kentucky, where Wall starred during the 2009-10 season.

But that friendship is currently on hold. Wall, in fact, says isn't listening to any of Drake's songs during the series and that includes 'Nice For What,' Drake's latest single. The song is being played everywhere, but Wall is avoiding it. 

"I can't?" Wall said when told he can't get away from 'Nice For What.' "I always have my headphones on."

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