NAPA, Calif. (AP) - Rod Streater showed the rest of the NFL in his exhibition debut what the Oakland Raiders have been seeing ever since they signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Temple in May.
Streater caught six passes for 66 yards against the Dallas Cowboys and was one of the few offensive standouts in a 3-0 loss for the Raiders (tied for No. 23 in the AP Pro32) in the first game under new coach Dennis Allen.
It was an impressive performance from a player who had only 19 catches as a senior in college and was passed over by all 32 teams in the NFL draft.
"That's the big thing to make plays under the lights," Streater said. "I just wanted to go out there and perform and show these coaches that I can play."
Streater never got much of a chance to show what he could do in college. He played defensive back and receiver for two years in junior college at Alfred State before transferring to Temple.
The Owls weren't much of a throwing team and Streater had just 49 catches in two seasons there, including only 19 his senior season.
That was a big reason why he wasn't drafted in April. He said the disappointment from that rejection lasted about an hour. Then his focus turned to where he would sign as a free agent and he was impressed by the depth of interest from the Raiders, who placed many calls to Streater and also talked to his college coach.
"After the draft was over, I just wanted a place to go, have a place to play," Streater said. "This is an opportunity to make it this far, so I felt like if I could just get here, I could make an impact."
He has done just that, much to the delight of the Raiders, who considered drafting Streater but had just six picks and ended up getting him as a free agent instead.
"You never really know about the draft. It's not a perfect science," Allen said. "But he was a guy that we had on our board and he was a guy that as the draft continued to go on we were looking at where he was at. Unfortunately we weren't able to draft him but fortunately once we hit free agency and we knew he wasn't drafted he was one of the primary guys we were trying to get."
Streater drew immediate praise from Allen at the team's rookie minicamp and just continued that kind of performance when he got to play with the top quarterbacks at OTAs and minicamp.
He picked up from there when the team reported to Napa for training camp late last month and has made the most of a hamstring injury that has slowed starter Denarius Moore for most of the summer. He has earned the trust of his quarterbacks with his precise route running and reliable hands.
"He doesn't play like a rookie," backup quarterback Matt Leinart said. "For someone who didn't have a lot of catches in college, he's a pretty savvy player. That's hard to see from young wideouts. I think he's going to continue. He's a very humble kid, a very quiet kid. He's going to continue to work hard. We have high expectations for him. He's done that every day in practice. To see him go out and make plays in the game is nice."
Oakland's other rookie receiver standout from the practice field didn't fare nearly as well as Streater on Monday night. Juron Criner, the fifth-round pick who made a bunch of circus catches in offseason workouts, had one reception for five yards and also dropped a short pass from Leinart with plenty of open room in front of him.
The emergence of Criner and Streater helped lead to a trade before training camp that sent Louis Murphy to Carolina for a draft pick. That leaves only three healthy receivers on the roster who have ever played a game in the NFL and none with more career catches than Darrius Heyward-Bey's 99.
The Associated Press