Rod Streater is from Temple, hardly a bastion of college football excellence.
Though he had a good career for the Owls, he was unproven against major talent and went undrafted in 2012, eventually signing with the Raiders as a free agent.
But the minute he suited up, Streater impressed coaches and teammates. He made the roster as a long shot in 2012, started two games and had 39 catches. The next season Streater started 14 games, caught 60 passes for 888 yards – a 14.8-yard average -- and scored four touchdowns. So, going into 2014, big things were expected of the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder.
But a foot injury cost him the season. He played just three games, catching only nine passes.
Now, however, he’s ready to pick up right where he left off – but the dynamic has changed in the Raiders receiving corps. This offseason, the Raiders added free-agent veteran Michael Crabtree and used the fourth overall pick in the NFL draft on Amari Cooper, whom some believe was the best player available in the entire draft class.
So Streater no longer is guaranteed a starting spot. But, that apparently isn’t something he worries about. Now in the midst of organized team activities (OTAs), Streater is just happy to be back on the field, running without pain and getting a chance to play again.
He said, too, that the experience of being injured and having to watch his teammates helped him grow.
“I really had to mature and it was just new to me,” he told reporters this week. “I had great trainers around me to help me get back and get my mind right. When I found out I wasn’t coming back (during the 2014 season), it really hurt. I wanted to be out there with my team and finish strong, but everything happens for a reason. I worked hard this offseason and to make sure I was strong to come back this year.”
Streater also looks at the Raiders roster and sees a more talented and versatile group than in the past. He called Cooper, Crabtree, Andre Holmes and himself as “playmakers” and said Cooper’s presence will help them all. Plus, every wideout can play every role – in the slot or split wide.
“The more playmakers you have, the better you are going to be, and he is really going to help us win,” said Streater. “I feel like the whole receiving group is complete. You can put us on the outside, put us in the slot. I feel like we really don’t miss a beat. We can play outside, in, it really doesn’t matter – we are all interchangeable. So I think that’s going to add a strength to us when we get out there on the field.”