Raise your hand if Juron Criner being the playmaker at Oakland Raiders' camp is a surprise.
I didn't think so. I'm sure I was subconsciously being a homer when saying the Raiders got a value pick after drafting Criner. Same with Kyle Kensing spouting good things when talking about Criner and Nick Foles' legacy at Arizona.
At least we weren't wrong.
On Tuesday, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News writes that Criner is lighting it up in OTAs for Oakland.
Apparently, Carson Palmer has taken Foles' old buddy-buddy role with Juron quite seriously.
Kawakami reports that Criner caught two jump balls among crowds of defenders in practice, and also burned one cornerback down the field with that weak 40-yard dash time of 4.6 seconds.
"It's been a learning process for him," coach Dennis Allen said following practice. "I think he every day he gets a little bit better. He's learning more what to do. I was pleased with the way he practiced today. It's not a whole lot different than what we saw on tape in college. That's what we expect of him."
Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was also loving the Criner action, according to Jerry McDonald.
The former Arizona Wildcats standout caught at least six passes, McDonald writes, and they came on more than jump balls. Criner also caught a catch while "tumbling" to the ground, and he stopped, reached behind, and snared a catch on a bad pass.
That 40-yard speed? Meh.
"I feel 40-time speed is straight line speed," Criner told reporter Monte Poole. "And it's rare that you're going to run in a straight line on the football field. Football speed is different. It's about having a sense of urgency, having the ability to break down and make cuts while keeping your speed.
The Raiders aren't going for pure athletes anymore, evidenced by Poole's article on Criner earlier in the week. Criner fits the bill as playmaker rather than workout-ace.
And for the Arizona fans, it's probably safe to say nobody is really that surprised.