The summer always has been Seth Roberts’ time to shine.
The Raiders wide receiver has had a knack for putting up big numbers in the preseason. Last year, he had a four-catch game vs. the Packers in summer Game No. 2. In 2015, he had three-, four- and seven-catch games and totaled 15 receptions for 243 yards over four games.
Now Roberts, who’s been a nice complementary piece of the Oakland offense the past two seasons, will need another productive summer to secure his place in the wide receiver rotation in 2017.
Roberts has been a big-play receiver out of the slot for Oakland, but now the Raiders have added veteran Cordarrelle Patterson from the Vikings, who figures to team with Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper to give the Raiders a talented frontline trio. Roberts will need to secure playing time by showing this summer he can continue to be a key weapon, while competing with Patterson, Johnny Holton, Jaydon Mickens and K.J. Brent, among others.
That quest will begin Saturday, when the Raiders play the Cardinals in Arizona in their exhibition opener, set for 7 p.m.
It turns out Roberts actually played last season with a double hernia suffered in training camp but never revealed by the Raiders. He feels much stronger now. In 2016 his per-catch yardage average dropped from 15 the previous season to 10.4, and he dropped more catchable balls.
“It was tough mentally,” he told reporters this week. “I just had to stay in it. It was a real struggle but I made it happen. I got through the season. It wasn’t my best and I didn’t feel my best but I made it happen. I had to do it.”
One thing is certain: quarterback Derek Carr believes in him.
“That man has made game-winning catch after big-time play and all these things. It’s because he works his tail off,” said Carr.
With a healthy, productive Roberts and an improved tight end group – with Lee Smith healthy again and the addition of Jared Cook – Carr could have the most talented group of pass catchers he’s had in his NFL career.