ALAMEDA -- As the Raiders' makeover enters its second phase once the regular season concludes, Rod Streater can rest easy.

Considering he was the hand-picked choice of general manager Reggie McKenzie as an undrafted free agent out of Temple, Streater will be viewed as part of the solution and not part of the problem.

With McKenzie expected to add additional draft picks and look to stockpile talent, even more established receivers such as Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore and the injured Jacoby Ford could be available provided they bring back something substantial in return.

Streater, along with fifth-round draft pick Juron Criner, can count on a fixed address for at least another season as foundational players as the Raiders start rebuilding from the ground floor.

Uninvited to the combine in February, Streater figured he'd give football one shot and prepare for his pro day before looking for an internship in communications and public relations after getting his degree.

"I didn't think I'd be playing football anymore," Streater said in a recent interview. "Honestly, I was looking for a job and just gave it a shot. I might as well work out. I like to work out. I had a good pro day, and things just turned around from there. I'm just glad I gave it a shot."

The Raiders were present at the pro day, and McKenzie had a relationship with Streater's agent. Streater ran a 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

"He kind of talked to him and put a bug in his ear after the pro day," Streater said.


Advertisement

McKenzie signed Streater immediately after the draft and ended up with one of the NFL's most pleasant surprises among undrafted players.

Streater is tied for sixth among NFL rookie wide receivers with 28 receptions and is sixth in receiving yards with 429. He has three touchdowns.

Against Denver last week, Streater had four catches for 100 yards -- his first 100-yard game in the NFL. The previous week, against Cleveland, Streater had three catches for 96 yards, including a 64-yard TD reception from Carson Palmer.

"Rod's doing great. I love what he brings to the team," Palmer said. "He's a rookie, but you would never know it. He's athletically gifted, he's fast, he catches the ball really well, and he does not think the game like a rookie. He thinks the game like a veteran."

Pretty heady stuff for a guy who caught 19 passes as a senior in a run-oriented Temple offense and never had more than 86 yards receiving in a college game.

While offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said Streater is prone to his share of rookie mistakes, he likes many of his intangible attributes.

"He's got pretty good savvy for a rookie," Knapp said. "It's not too big for him. He shows a great sense of calmness and awareness during a game."

Streater hit the rookie wall around Thanksgiving, at which time he had played 15 games including the preseason -- exceeding the usual season at Temple.

"Besides bowl games we were pretty much done after Thanksgiving," Streater said. "After that I got right back on track and got over it."

Streater learned that playbook study was like Bible study in that the lessons and interpretations were endless.

Knapp broke down classroom work in financial terms they could all understand.

"You want to get your second contract? You want to get your third contract? You study on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so the game comes slower to you on Sunday," Knapp said. "If you just do what's the minimum in the classroom, you're not going to extend your career much."

For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on twitter at Twitter.com/Jerrymcd.