ALAMEDA — When the Raiders signed Vincent Brown, it wasn’t just about his playing time with the rival San Diego Chargers.
It wasn’t about his experience playing against the Denver Broncos or Kansas City Chiefs. It was about competition at the receiver position.
Brown, who was drafted by the Chargers in the third round of the 2011 draft, signed a one-year deal for an undisclosed amount with the Raiders Monday. A southern California native, Brown has a shot to help right a ship that appears to be taking on water at an alarming rate.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson has a simpler role for the 25-year-old:
“We need competition, really, at every position. There’s some positions that there’s more than others. We think the wide receivers position, we need to bring in competition and make that group compete.”
Brown isn’t the typical receiver that the Raiders would go after. At five-foot-eleven, 190 pounds, he’s now the team’s smallest wide-out and ties for the lightest player on their 53-man roster.
Perhaps the swift motions which are usually found in smaller players is something the Raiders have been missing. A true slot receiver, which former Raider Jacoby Ford was supposed to be, is something the team hasn’t had in quite some time.
The Raiders and Brown had been in contact for at least three weeks before his signing, and though he had other workouts planned, he chose the Raiders after visiting with them for one afternoon.
Brown had been rehabbing a calf injury in the interim and didn’t want to rush workouts until he was fully healthy, which he says he is.
And while the fourth year pro still hasn’t soaked everything in, he’s working as quickly as he can to learn the offense. Brown feels that he brings big play ability, something that head coach Dennis Allen agrees with:
“After having an opportunity to compete against him for a couple of years there when he was in San Diego, he’s got some explosiveness. He catches the ball really well and he’s got some vertical threat down the field. I think probably the biggest thing when you watch the guy is, when the ball goes in his direction, he generally makes the catch.”
Brown’s father might be happier than the Raiders that he’ll don silver and black on Sundays. Vincent Brown Sr. is a Raiders fan, dating back to the time when they played in Los Angeles.
That might have had some influence on Brown’s decision to cancel the workouts he had with the Chiefs and Jets, though he wouldn’t let on:
“It was was a blessing, just to still be able to play football and come out here to Oakland to continue my career as a Raider. I’m excited for it, happy for it and I just want to mix in and do what I can.”
There’s a chance, according to Raiders coaches, that Brown could be part of the active receiving corps when the team travels to New England this weekend. So Brown might get his opportunity sooner rather than later.
Until that time, though, his time will be spent as a sponge, soaking up the playbook and learning the new system.