Since his rookie training camp in 2011, Denarius Moore has displayed amazing athletic ability and a knack for making big plays.
In just his second NFL game, he made an acrobatic, 50-yard touchdown catch against the Buffalo Bills in a game in which he caught five balls for 146 yards.
It appeared the Raiders had struck gold with the fifth-round draft pick from Tennessee.
Now, however, it appears No. 17’s days in Oakland are down to a precious few.
When wide receiver Rod Streater is activated – which could come soon – Oakland will need to cut one of its wideouts. And Moore seems like the best bet.
Moore had seasons of 33, 51 and 46 catches before this one, including 12 that went for touchdowns.
But this season, Moore has just 12 catches in 11 games – putting him seventh on the team – and has just one reception in the past four games.
In fact, he hasn’t played a single offensive snap over the past two games, including the Raiders’ first victory of the season over Kansas City last week.
As Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle noted this week, when Streater returns it’s going to have a ripple effect on the wide receiver corps. Someone will have to go.
“And the arrow might be pointing at once-promising fourth-year receiver Denarius Moore,” Tafur wrote, adding that Moore “has gradually slid to the bottom of the depth chart.”
While Moore remains quick, can make catches in traffic and has great leaping ability, the coaching staff doesn’t trust him to be consistent. Over this season, Moore has been passed by second-year wideout Brice Butler and Andre Holmes, and Oakland has brought in former Patriot Kenbrell Thompkins and ex-Charger Vincent Brown in a search for more production.
It’s not likely that Streater will be activated this week. He returned to practice Monday, but the team has a three-week window to re-activate him. So, Moore is likely safe this week as the 1-10 Raiders prepare to play the Rams in St. Louis Sunday morning.
But unless something miraculous happens, his days remaining in silver and black are likely to be very brief.