Yesterday the Raiders claimed wide receiver Greg Little off waivers. A second round pick with three years of service in the NFL, Little showed a lot of potential in a rookie season where he caught 61 balls for 709 yards. However, there are a couple reasons why the Browns released Little, even with Josh Gordon facing a possible yearlong suspension after another positive drug test.
1. His numbers have regressed each season.
- 2011: 61 receptions, 709 yards, two TD
- 2012: 53 receptions, 647 yards, four TD
- 2013: 41 receptions, 465 yards, two TD
2. He’s not exactly known for having the greatest hands.
- 2011: 14 drops
- 2012: 9 drops
- 2013: 8 drops
Some receivers — Darrius Heyward-Bey, for example — simply cannot catch passes consistently. Little seemed like he had the ability to catch the ball just fine in college, so the Raiders probably hope he’ll stop averaging 10 drops per season now that he’s escaped Cleveland and the Browns’ revolving door at quarterback.
On the bright side, he’s still young (he will turn 25 at the end of the month) and has physical attributes that cannot be taught. Standing at 6’2 and weighing around 220 lbs, Little is a big boy. And if passes bounce off Little’s hands too frequently this offseason, the Raiders can cut him and not really lose anything.
The Raiders will want to start the season with five wide receivers on the roster. The first four are pretty much locked in: Rod Streater, James Jones, Denarius Moore and Andre Holmes. Little will be competing with undrafted rookie Mike Davis out of Texas as well as Greg Jenkins and Brice Butler, two guys who spent time on the Raiders practice squad with the occasional trip to the main roster as rookies last season.