Rookie Jacoby Ford has tremendous speed. A track and football star at Clemson, Ford shared returned duties with C.J. Spiller. At the 2010 NFL Combine the Raiders wide-receiver had the best time in the 40-yard-dash, clocking in at a blazing 4.28 seconds.
The Raiders drafted Ford to shore up a weak return game. The surprise may be how Ford is producing at wide-receiver.
With Murphy and Schilens sidelined, Ford and the other receivers have been given additional snaps. Ford, more than anyone, has opened the eyes of the coaching staff and media.
If Ford can put the pressure on Higgins at receiver and in the return game, Higgins could see his path to the 53-man roster narrow.
So far, Ford has done a good job of transitioning his track speed into football speed and catching the football
Darrius Heyward-Bey still thinks he is faster than Ford and it would be great fun to have a handful of sub 4.4 Raiders race. Ford, unlike Heyward-Bey, has shown he can catch the ball as a rookie.
With deadly speed and good hands, Ford could become a valuable vertical threat from the slot.
With no proven veterans at receiver, the Raiders are counting on their young talent to grow. With Jason Campbell at quarterback, their development shouldn’t be delayed by poor quarterback play.
From most reports, Darrius Heyward-Bey looks better. He is catching the ball, running better routes and learning to use his speed. There is also noticeable change in his attitude. He seems to have developed a bit of edginess, or a little ‘diva.’
Murphy, sidelined with a concussion, hasn’t been able to practice and try to build on a solid rookie campaign. Schilens potential has been delayed by a string of injuries.
Considering the lack of depth and health of the receivers, Ford should get plenty of opportunity to flash his skills.
It is something to watch as camp continues to ramp up.
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