A wide reception in Oakland


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Jan 22, 2006
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Oakland Raiders

A wide reception in Oakland
By Anthony Carroll on May 23, 2006 03:00 AM

With their current roster, Oakland can assemble their entire offensive unit using just wide receivers.

Ronald Curry at quarterback, Randy Moss at center, Kevin McMahon at tight end, Carlos Francis at running back...

Oh, and they would still have two bench warmers hankering to get in the game.

Thirteen is the number in Oakland. Jersey numbers ranging from 4 to 89 are being consumed by pass catchers in the Raiders' locker room.

This offseason, Oakland has been busy stockpiling their frequent flyer miles, transporting every undrafted wide receiver under the sun from their couch to California.

Trip one: John Madsen - Utah

Standing 6-5, 220-pounds, it's not jaw dropping to see Madsen in a silver and black practice outfit. In 2005, he suffered a season-ending injury to his fibula with three games remaining in his collegiate career. As a result, the Utah Ute missed the NFL combine, further narrowing his chances to make his way into the NFL. Despite missing the final three games of his senior season, Madsen still hauled in 55 passes for 672 yards and six touchdowns. After receiving a call from the Raiders' front office, Madsen mentioned Warren Sapp and Randy Moss, saying, "I've idolized them since high school." It's now four years later, and the door has been cracked open to extend that admiration into affiliation.

Trip two: Rick Gatewood - Montana State

Gatewood, a Montana State graduate, was another one of the four undrafted wideouts signed by Oakland on May 5th. The 22-year-old Bobcat stands 5-11, 192 pounds in frame--relatively small for a Raiders' pass catcher. However, in 2004 and 2005, Gatewood posted surprisingly big numbers. As a junior and senior, he caught 131 balls for 1,759 yards and 13 touchdowns. Unlike Madsen, Gatewood participated in the March combine festivities, posting 40 times of 4.57 seconds and 4.55 seconds, while registering a 37 1/2-inch vertical jump.

Trip three: Will Buchanan - Southern California

Buchanan may have squeezed his 6-3, 185-pound frame into a sedan to make his short trip to Oakland. At USC, Buchanan took advantage of his distinguished last name, playing mostly as a defensive back, along with wide receiver. Overshadowed by star wide receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, Buchanan wasn't even momentarily glanced over by the USC coaching staff. At wide receiver, he caught no balls in 2005 and just four in 2004. Overall, the signing of the wideout-converted-cornerback is a bit questionable; but, then again, so was drafting a quarterback named Ronald Curry.

Trip four: Jayson Boyd - Texas at El Paso

For now, Jason Boyd will reunite with UTEP teammate Thomas Howard in Oakland. Measuring 6-4, 220-pounds, Boyd is an athletic prospect with deep-ball potential. At the pre-draft combine, Boyd ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.59 seconds and registered a 35 1/2-inch vertical jump. In 2002, he played as a member of Oregon State, catching just 10 passes for 169 yards and a single touchdown. Thereafter, he transferred to UTEP in 2004, catching an impressive 42 balls for 560 yards and five touchdowns. In his final season, Boyd was sidelined with groin and foot injuries for half of the 2005 season; he finished the year with just 12 receptions for 222 yards.

Trip five: Burl Toler - California

The 23-year-old Golden Bear last played in 2004, when he caught just eight balls for 78 yards. However, in 2003, the 6-2, 190-pounder filled in nicely for the team's 2002 leading ball-catcher, grabbing 48 passes for 609 yards and three touchdowns. Reflecting back upon his walk-on performance at California, Toller commented, "My dad said I should never give up; good things can still happen. Making the team was a testament to what my dad had been telling me." Obviously, that advice has stuck with him years later; he is now battling his way towards an NFL career.

Along with seventh-round draft choice, Kevin McMahan, Oakland's receiving corps includes Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Doug Gabriel, Ronald Curry, Alvis Whitted, Johnnie Morant, and Carlos Francis.

Rest assured, a handful of the above names won't make it into week one of the regular season.

But, then again, a bit of friendly competition amongst colleagues never hurts.

In fact, it only helps.

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