When the Raiders hold their first full-squad workout of training camp Friday, a large group of wide receivers will be competing to catch passes from quarterback Derek Carr this season.
A few, such as No. 1 pick Amari Cooper, Rod Streater and Michael Crabtree, are locks to be among the probable six wideouts on the roster (barring injury).
For the rest, training camp and exhibition games should provide a spirited battleground.
Among the long shots to win a job is Seth Roberts.
Roberts, who signed with the Raiders last season as an undrafted free agent out of Division II school West Alabama, spent 2014 on the team’s practice squad.
In order to win a spot on the roster, Roberts will have to outperform two or three among a group that includes Andre Holmes, Brice Butler, Austin Willis, Josh Harper, Kris Durham and Kenbrell Thompkins, That’s a tall order.
But Roberts has some things in his favor as a 6-foot-2, 196-pound pass catcher who ran a quick 4.44 40-yard dash at his pro day after his final season at West Alabama. Roberts had a productive final season, catching 40 passes for 857 yards and 12 touchdowns on a team that focused on running the ball.
In his first camp with the Raiders last summer, Roberts said he looked up to Streater as an example of what is possible. Streater also came from an under-the-radar school (Temple) as an undrafted free agent, but made the Raiders roster and has thrived.
Roberts says that as an undrafted player, he has an attitude that he wants to prove people wrong about him.
“I just try to have the strongest mindset every day to come out here and work and compete and keep pushing myself and have it stay in my mind that I need to just take it day by day,” he said.
Roberts recently was one of several Raiders receivers to join Carr in Bakersfield for a pre-training camp prep session. Roberts will need every edge he can gain to open eyes and open doors over the coming six weeks. Last season, he did what he could. At one point, Jerry McDonald, who covers the Raiders for the Bay Area News Group, tweeted: “WR Seth Roberts has been one of Raiders' most sure-handed receivers throughout camp.”
If he can perform the same way this summer, he could join Streater as an NFL long shot.