ALAMEDA -- Rod Streater has a pretty good shot at catching more passes in his first four NFL preseason games than he did his entire senior season at Temple. He needs two Thursday against the Seahawks.
If you're looking for the Raiders player who's had the best training camp it's hard to pick against Streater, who has gone from undrafted rookie to virtual lock for the 53-man roster. Streater has 18 catches for 165 yards through three games, which is the second-most receptions in the NFL in the preseason behind Saints running back Travaris Cadet, who has 22 catches for 202 yards but has played in four games.
It's clear that Streater has won the confidence of coaches and quarterback Carson Palmer, partly with the way he conducts himself. That is, Streater himself is very confident. As Palmer pointed out this week, that won't always be the case with players who go through the whole draft process coming out of college only to have teams pass on them until the late rounds or, as in Streater's case, until after the draft is over.
"I think more importantly he realizes he can play in this league," Palmer said. "When you're a sixth-, seventh-round draft choice or a free agent, there's a little bit of doubt. 'Why didn't I get picked? Why did I get picked so late? Maybe I can't play in this league.'
(Palmer, of course, would be speaking from observation here, not personal experience, as he was the No. 1 overall pick out of USC in 2003. But continuing ...)
"I think the one thing he's realized is he can play. He can play with the best, he can win a one-on-one route against any corner, starter or backup. And that's one of the biggest hurdles a young guy has to get over is you really don't know if you can do it consistently. And he's consistently done it every single practice, every single day."
Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said that Streater is still learning some next-level techniques, such as how to get off the line of scrimmage against press coverage. At the same time, Streater has gotten comfortable enough with the playbook to have played two receiver positions for the Raiders in camp, which Knapp called "a pleasant surprise."
"I'm surprised at how much moxie he's got for a rookie," Knapp said. "I kind of knew early on. There was a situation at camp, about week two, where I lost my vocal chords on the kid and later in that practice, he comes back and makes a big play. I pulled him aside and said, 'That's exactly what you need to do. If you make a mistake, don't let somebody yelling at you, somebody booing you or somebody critiquing you on the sideline affect how you do the next down.'"
Streater credited Palmer as "the biggest reason for my success so far."
"I learn the plays myself, learn the plays in my room myself, but going on the field he'll just help me adjust to it," Streater said. "If I make a mistake he'll tell me, 'Just run this route like that and it'll help you get open for the next time.'"
-- Matt Kawahara